Following nearly two hours of closed session debate, Albany city councilors voted 5-2 Monday to offer the city manager's position to Washington resident Peter Troedsson.
The offer is contingent upon a check of Troedsson's references and background and on a visit to city and community offices in Bothell, Washington, where Troedsson currently is deputy city manager and chief operating officer.
David Shaw, Albany's director of human resources, said Monday he plans to make the trip. Councilor Bill Coburn volunteered to accompany him.
No salary or official start date have been named for the position. Mayor Sharon Konopa said following Monday's decision that Troedsson's current salary in Washington is $153,000. Albany pays $137,796 to City Manager Wes Hare, who is retiring at the end of June.
Troedsson received the nod for the job over finalist Jorge Salinas, the city's current assistant city manager and chief information officer.
In a brief statement following Monday's closed session, Councilor Rich Kellum said the council "made the choice based on who we thought was best for the job." He declined to elaborate.
Kellum made the motion to offer the position to Troedsson. Coburn, Bessie Johnson, Dick Olsen and Mike Sykes joined him in voting yes, with Konopa and Ray Kopczynski dissenting.
The mayor, who does not usually vote unless as a tiebreaker, cast a vote because the city charter specifically states the council as a whole hires the city manager.
The City of Albany received 37 applications for the position, selecting five finalists in February. They narrowed the search to Troedsson and Salinas in March.
Department directors and a citizen review panel met with both candidates Monday, and about 40 people attended an evening reception to ask questions.
Troedsson, 55, holds a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Air Force War College. He spent 30 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, including three years as commander of the air station in Astoria. For many years, his job entailed piloting helicopters.
He said he wanted to continue serving after his retirement and particularly loves the Pacific Northwest, so he wanted to stay in Oregon or Washington. Becoming a full-time city manager has been his goal, he said.
Troedsson told the audience at Monday's reception he agrees with Salinas that he expects street maintenance to be an issue to address in Albany.
He also cited affordable housing and the pressure on city and social services caused by homelessness and addiction to opiods and heroin as challenges he expects to face. He said he believes partnerships with other agencies is the key to finding solutions.