SWEET HOME — City Manager Ray Towry is doing an excellent job, council members agreed after a lengthy annual review process that concluded at a Tuesday night council meeting.
Towry came to Sweet Home three years ago from Ephrata, Washington, where he was the parks, recreation and community services director.
On a scale of one to five — in which one is unsatisfactory and five is outstanding — Towry received numerous five ratings and averaged more than four points in nearly every category. He did not score less than “meets the standard” in any single category.
His highest ratings were his ability to assist the council in establishing long-range goals, supervising and training staff and controlling city expenditures and spending city money wisely.
His lowest ratings — which were still high, in the "meets the standard" range — were improving community economics an improving access to essential services, such as health care.
Evaluation categories, which included several benchmarks each, included: city council relationships, performance related to job description and a roundtable discussion to talk about developing effective and efficient government, essential services and economics.
Councilor comments included:
• “These last three years, Ray has led the city well. He has provided valuable training for councilors, facilitated goal-creating conversations with councilors, hired qualified staff to execute the council goals, stayed within budget, mitigated solutions to problems the city has encountered.”
• “He recognizes challenges the city will be facing and offers solutions.”
• “I would love to see a ‘state-of-the-city’ address sometime, where he can identify to the public the improvements the city has made in recent years.”
• “Mr. Towry, you have done a great job of taking charge of the city and moving us forward in a manner that betters not only city staff and council, but our community in general. To be honest, I would say from where I sit, you have done an outstanding job. I am proud to still have you on board after these passing years.”
In other business, the council:
• Approved using $50,000 in economic development money as matching funds for the COVID-19 Emergency Business Assistance Grant Program. The Business Oregon program has about $10 million to assist small businesses — 25 or fewer employees — who may be unable to get financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic development director Blair Larsen said the community’s application is due by Monday.
• Approved a request for proposals document to solicit a management firm for the city’s water and wastewater treatment plants. Council members said they were greatly impressed with the quality and thoroughness of the proposal that if successful will have a new operator in place by March 2021.
• Learned the library’s curbside pickup program is going well. Materials are disinfected and quarantined for three days prior to being eligible for checkout by another person. Six computers available for public use have been replaced, along with upgrading of the public printer and photocopier. A grant from the Confederated Tribes of Siletz assisted with funding.
• Learned six radar speed signs have been received by Public Works. Two signs have been placed on First Avenue and Airport Road. Four other signs will be placed on Highway 20 and Highway 228 after approval from the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.