Port Angeles council approves city manager contract

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council has approved an employment contract with its next city manager.

Nathan West, acting city manager and former community and economic development director, was previously selected to replace retiring City Manager Dan McKeen.

The City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve an employment agreement that will pay West $145,000 per year when he becomes city manager Sept. 5.

West, 46, began working for the city as principal planner in 2005 and was promoted to community and economic development director in 2008.

“I’m very excited to continue to serve this community,” West told the council Tuesday.

“It’s my goal to both exceed council’s expectations as well as community expectations on where the city goes from here.”

The Port Angeles city manager is the chief executive of the city who reports to the elected council. He or she prepares a draft budget, oversees department heads and administers the city’s day-to-day functions.

“I believe that this council has made a very wise move in choosing Mr. West,” said third-term Council member Cherie Kidd, who along with Mayor Sissi Bruch and Human Resources Director Abbi Fountain negotiated the contract with West.

“We’re very pleased with his experience, his credentials and, frankly, his love of Port Angeles and his knowledge of Port Angeles. We just feel that we have many wonderful years ahead with the city manager.”

By completing satisfactory reviews, West will be eligible for $2,000 raises in March 2019 and September 2019, according to his contract.

Those raises would align West’s salary with McKeen’s $149,000 salary, which is $8,000 less than McKeen’s predecessor, Kent Myers, who resigned in 2012 after four years.

McKeen was the Port Angeles fire chief before he accepted the city manager’s job. McKeen had planned to serve as city manager for three years and instead has served for six years.

After McKeen announced his plan to retire this year, the City Council hired a consultant to evaluate West for the role of city manager.

Prothman, an Issaquah firm to which the city paid $6,500, determined in a written evaluation that West’s qualifications were “outstanding,” Kidd has said.

It would have cost the city about $25,000 to hire an outside recruiting firm, officials said.

When announcing West as the next city manager July 18, Kidd said the city was “very fortunate” to hire an “excellent employee with an outstanding record.”

“I am very appreciative that council had the faith and confidence in my abilities to move this contract forward,” West said Tuesday.

According to the contract, West will receive the same benefits and cost-of-living raises that other non-union-represented department heads collect.

West will receive a $400 monthly car allowance and a cellphone to perform his duties.

West, who lives just outside the city, would be required to move within the city limits should he and his family decide to relocate, according to the contract.

West and his wife have an 11-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son who each attend Franklin Elementary School in Port Angeles.

“The whole council unanimously supports this decision and we are grateful that we have such a capable candidate that knows and cares about our community,” Bruch said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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