A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

For Wes Hare, appreciation and a raise

Written August 18th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
City Manager Wes Hare is flanked by Councilor Bessie Johnson, left, and Mayor Sharon Konopa.

City Manager Wes Hare is flanked by Councilor Bessie Johnson, left, and Mayor Sharon Konopa.

As it has in previous years, the Albany City Council has given City Manager Wes Hare another vote of confidence, along with a raise. This time, on Monday, it also presented him with a plaque and a $25 gift certificate from Fred Meyer.

The occasion was the manager’s annual performance review, held in a public meeting as usual although I was the only public in the room.

If there was any news, it was that Hare sounded hopeful that the long dispute with Lebanon over the Albany-Santiam Canal would be settled by the end of this month. Both cities put the negotiations over cost sharing and other issues in the hands of their public works professionals, and an accord now appears likely.

There was a good deal of talk about controlling costs of public services. Hare and council members said that Albany had done a good job, with its roughly $30 million general fund now only slightly higher than seven or eight years ago. It’s tough, though, they agreed, when state law has left cities little control over personnel costs in the two biggest cost centers, police and fire. In both departments, labor contract disputes are subject to binding arbitration.

The council worried whether Albany is paying its manager enough to keep him from jumping ship. Hare, 62, said he’s had offers but it’s unlikely he would leave for higher pay. The council noted, though, that former public works director Mark Shepard went to work as the Corvallis city manager and now makes more than his former boss.

Councilors voted to raise Hare’s salary 2.5 percent to $137,796 a year. His total compensation, including benefits, goes to $183,732.  The plaque he received — elaborately wrapped in a gold-colored box and green and yellow tissue paper — expressed the council’s appreciation. He got the gift certificate because the city presents one to all employees when they complete 10 years with the city. (hh)


7 responses to “For Wes Hare, appreciation and a raise”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    According to payscale.com, City Managers with more than 10 years of experience make up over one-half of City Managers nationwide. Salaries for this group fluctuates from $49K to $150K per year. The average is $85K annually.

    Would Albany be better off with a new face that brings fresh perspectives at a more reasonable salary?

    • Bob Woods says:


      And why don’t to get a little more fair by taking out the small cities like Port Orford and Scio and the vast majority of cities in America that are under 30,000 population. Cities with 300 to 500 employees and total budgets to manage of $100 million to $400 million dollars.

  2. Ray Kopczynski says:

    No – Albany would NOT be better off by someone who is just “average!” Why in the world would we even consider someone else when we have the exceptional skills & quality from Wes? His pay is very much commensurate with his duties and falls well in the mid-opoint of comparable cities in Oregon. He is worth more than what he is willing to accept.

  3. Bob Woods says:

    Wes Hare is one of the most honest, ethical, caring and competent people that has ever walked this planet.

    Wes has 10 years with Albany, but he’s got around 30 years of experience as a City Manager since his days in Oakridge, followed by his time in La Grande.

    In all these jobs Wes has had a long tenure. You see, it’s not unusual for City Managers to only last only two to five years in a city.

    Stop and think about it: City Councils are often polarized, with divergent views. City Manager have to work with ALL the council and citizens. Their job is not to lead the community, but to accomplish the goals that the ELECTED LEADERS set before the manager

    City Managers work to keep the city solvent. They watch the money and provide the council and public information and advice to insure that operations stay within current and projected resources. They recommend increases in funding whew that is needed to reach the goals that have been established, and they institute cuts when cash falls short.

    As I and others have pointed out before, when the greatest recession of our lives hit the entire world, Albany fared better than most other cities around Oregon. The reason is Wes Hare and his staff.

    When Wes came to the city back in 2005, well before the recession hit, he looked at the projections of revenues and expenditures for the future. The numbers did not look good. It was clear to Wes that probable future costs were going to increase faster than probable future revenues – and unsustainable position. So he put on the brakes and did internal adjustments in operations to bend that cost curve downward.

    That, combined with innovations to foster early retirement and preserve lower level jobs within the staff, helped Albany get through. And it preserved jobs and services at a time when others were losing them.

    Most people don’t know a lot about Wes.

    You probably didn’t know that when Wes was in the military, he was assigned to staff at NATO headquarters in Europe. Not the kind of a assignment that the military gives to most folks.

    And you may have forgot, or not known, that when Wes was City Manager in La Grande he used his leave and personal resources to spend what I remember to be around 9 months in Iraq just after the war. He was there to help local communities try and form their own local controlled governments, instead of being vassals of Baghdad.

    I especially remember this because when I attended an international professional conference several years ago in San Jose, Wes was singled out in a key presentation as one of five city managers that had showed exceptional dedication towards improving city management both at home and around the world. They even showed that nice picture of Wes in Iraq, with a flak vest and M-16 when he was called upon to deliver a payroll from Baghdad to Karbala.

    As the Council knows, Wes has continued his dedication to help others. He has used his personal leave and resources to go to Gambela, Ethiopia to try and help them deal with solid waste problems. That’s not too easy in a small town that is desperately poor and located in an area of the world best known for war and rebellion.

    A couple of years ago he also went on his own dime and time to speak at a conference in Morocco on local government issues, assisting the US government. He has also taken the time for the last several years to go to Astoria to help them go though annual goal setting – because the people there clearly value his skills.

    All this demand for a City Manager from a small city, in the middle of the Willamette Valley. Why.

    Because he’s THAT good.

  4. Jim Engel says:

    Gentlemen, gentlemen…lets be civil & not snipe at the worth of someone. Can’t you see the mark left on his forehead from the sweat band he has to wear working himself to a frazzle every day? Never matter he & obviously the City council, doesn’t realize he has no clothes on!! The beat would go on no matter who is in the barrel. It’s the plain, ordinary City worker bee that gets things done in this town. ..JE

    • Bob Woods says:

      #1 – Barrels generally have either bullets, pickles, or beer. Never heard of a barrel with a “Beat”.

      #2 – Never saw Wes without clothes on. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to. (No offense intended, Wes.)

      #3 – Poor attempt at being snarky.


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