Hunt on for new Camas mayor

Applications due by Friday, Oct. 26

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Camas City Council members, Shannon Turk (left), Melissa Smith (center) and Don Chaney (right) gather at the council's regular meeting, Oct. 1, at Camas City Hall.

Along with drumsticks and mashed potatoes, Camas residents will be getting a new mayor the week of Thanksgiving.

Former Camas Mayor Scott Higgins’ announced in June 2018, to many people’s surprise, that he would be stepping down after seven years in the position and more than a year before the end of his term.

Higgins formally left office Sept. 30, two weeks after delivering his final Camas “State of the Community” address.

Camas City Council member Melissa Smith and Shannon Turk have both expressed interest in the position, according to City Administrator Pete Capell.

Mayor Pro Tem Don Chaney is serving as interim mayor.

City council members will hold candidate interviews, immediately followed by a council vote, Nov. 14. The new Camas mayor will take the oath of office Nov. 19. Applications are due by 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26. Forms can be picked up at Camas City Hall, 616 N.E. Fourth Ave., or downloaded from the city website at

Capell said at the Oct. 1 council meeting that he and the executive committee will work to refine questions for interviewees. The phrasing of a council resolution, which prepared for this possibility in 2011, means all applicants will be interviewed, regardless of how many apply for the position.

“I’ve not heard of anybody outside the council (wanting to apply), but I have no doubt that when notice gets out there, some people will throw in some applications,” Capell said Tuesday.

Because Higgins left before his term was complete, the new mayor will hold office until Dec. 2, 2019, before being replaced by a four-year mayor selected in the Nov. 5, 2019 General Election.

Camas operates under a strong-mayor system. The mayor presides over city council meetings, but only votes in the case of a tie. The mayor’s strongest legislative power is the ability to veto ordinances passed by council. The city administrator conducts much of the day-to-day operations through the mayor’s direction.

An announcement about the vacancy, released by the city, specifies an average commitment of 60 to 80 hours per month for “preparation, participation and attendance at various meetings and community activities.”

The stipend for the office is $2,300 per month. The mayor also receives a $50 wireless phone allowance, a $25 technology allowance and a $300 vehicle allowance each month.

Applicants must reside in Camas, have been a resident for at least one year prior to appointment and be a registered voter in Camas.