Camas city administrator resigns nine months into new role

Jamal Fox will remain in his position through July 9; city to conduct national hunt for his replacement

Camas City Administrator Jamal Fox has announced his resignation less than one year into his role managing the city’s day-to-day business and overseeing more than 200 city employees. 

In a statement released by the city on Tuesday, May 26, Fox said former mayor Barry McDonnell — who resigned unexpectedly in April — along with city staff and the community “have been welcoming.”

“I think we have accomplished a lot in my time here,” Fox said. “It is my belief that the organization is stronger with the enhanced processes and the right leaders in the right places to continue the great work we began together. I am encouraged by the team and excited about the future opportunities that exist for this city.”

Camas leaders began their most recent city administrator search in early 2020, after then-city administrator Pete Capell, who had run the city’s day-to-day business since 2013, announced his retirement in December 2019, saying the city’s change in mayoral leadership had prompted him to reconsider his role with the city of Camas. 

In January 2020, Camas City Council members mulled the proposals of three executive-search consultant firms and agreed to hire Waldron, an executive search firm with offices in Portland and Seattle, to lead the hunt for a new city administrator.

Although Waldron had detailed an 18-week process that included community open houses and interviews with key stakeholders, McDonnell said in June 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic had put that timeline on hold.

Less than one month later, on July 20, 2020, the mayor announced in a video posted to the city’s YouTube channel that he had selected Fox, then the deputy chief of staff to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, to be Camas’ next city administrator. 

Fox began his position with the city of Camas on Aug. 31, 2020.  

In April, city officials in Gresham, Oregon, said Fox was one of three candidates being considered for that city’s next city manager. 

“Knowing what type of leader Jamal is, we completely understand why. Jamal’s skills, talent and leadership have been much appreciated and they have been an important part of the success the City has experienced during the pandemic. While we are saddened to possibly lose Jamal to another city, we’re also excited for the opportunity for him and his family,” Camas Communications Director Bryan Rachal said then. 

Under the city’s mayor-council form of government, the city administrator oversees the day-to-day business of the city at the direction of the mayor. The city administrator is Camas’ highest paid city employee, with an annual salary ranging from $143,400 to $171,768 in 2021.

Fox will remain in his role through July 9. 

Camas Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Burton will soon name an interim replacement to serve as the city’s administrator. 

Rachal said in the news release that the city “will eventually conduct a national search to find Fox’s replacement.”