During a short and somber meeting on Friday afternoon, the Camas City Council approved a consultant contract in the wake of an announcement early last week that City Administrator Nina Regor had taken immediate medical leave.
The contract is with Ridgefield based consultant Paul Lewis. According to Mayor Scott Higgins, as part of the contract Lewis will assist the city with duties that will include bringing the consolidation of the Camas-Washougal fire departments to a conclusion, assisting with union contract negotiations, working on the 2014 budget, and being available to department heads, if needed.
“He is a finance mind; that is his strength,” Higgins said. “He’s worked with a lot of different agencies.”
The contract begins immediately and runs through Dec. 31. According to the agreement, total monthly charges will not exceed $9,000, subject to a monthly maximum of 90 work hours. Any hours worked in excess of 90 per month will be billed at $115 per hour.
Higgins said he doesn’t expect the cost to reach the $27,000 maximum.
“My guess is that it is going to land in the $4,000 to $5,000 per month range for a couple of months, then we will make a permanent plan, should we need to,” he said.
Lewis has worked with the city of Camas on several projects over the years, most recently the fire department consolidation efforts. He has also been a consultant with other Clark County cities, including serving as Ridgefield’s interim city administrator for several months in 2012.
Higgins also announced last week that Human Resources Director Jennifer Gorsuch, who has worked for the city since August 2005, has been named the acting city administrator. She will handle day-to-day activities and operations of the city.
The special meeting of the City Council comes following the Sept. 24 announcement that Regor had taken a medical leave of absence for an “indefinite” amount of time.
Higgins explained on Friday that Regor’s condition, which she has been dealing with for the past few months, deteriorated “rapidly” during the last two weeks. She will not be returning to work, he said.
“We are so broken-hearted by this news, and yet I tell you that she is at peace,” he said. “The peace is because of her faith. We at the city are a strong organization and we will be fine. Things will go on, but this week we are sad – deeply, deeply sad.”
City officials declined to release specifics about Regor’s condition.
“We want to honor Nina’s privacy and at this point all that we can do is pray for her or send her a card,” he said. “I asked her what else we could do, as many would want to comfort her, and she has asked for cards only-no flowers or gifts.”
Higgins said he would personally deliver to Regor any cards dropped off City Hall, 616 N.E. Fourth Ave.
Regor, born in Clark County, began working as the Camas city administrator in January. She succeeded Lloyd Halverson, who had served as city administrator for more than 24 years. Regor previously worked as the city manager of Cloverdale, Calif.
During her career, Regor has also worked as the deputy city manager for the City of Spokane Valley, Wash., where she helped get the city started following its incorporation. She was also an employee of the City of Gresham, Ore., where she was the assistant city manager from 1993 to 2003, executive assistant to the city manager from 1992 to 1993, and a budget analyst from 1991 to 1992.