Camas mayor names new city administrator

‘Well-known, respected’ Camas School Board member Doug Quinn slated to take on new role in January ‘23

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Camas School Board members Doug Quinn (left) and Erika Cox (center) talk with Camas School Board President Corey McEnry inside Lacamas Lake Lodge at the 2022 State of the Community event on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. Quinn was tapped in November 2022 to be the city of Camas' next city administrator. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record files)

The city of Camas’ 18-month-long, nationwide search for a new city administrator has come full circle.

Camas Mayor Steve Hogan announced this week that he has selected Doug Quinn, a former city director and current member of the Camas School Board to help the mayor oversee the city’s 240 employees and guide Camas’ day-to-day operations.

Quinn, who has served on the school board since 2005, twice acting as the board’s president (2009-11 and 2017-19), is no stranger to the inner workings of the city of Camas. A Camas resident and licensed engineer, Quinn served in several city of Camas staff positions – as an assistant city engineer, city engineer and public works director — from 1988 through 2003, when he took a job as Clark Public Utilities’ director of water services. Quinn even served as the city’s interim city administrator in 1998 and 1999.

The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce named Quinn “Citizen of the Year” in 2021, and highlighted his work with the Downtown Camas Association and its “Light Brigade,” which upgraded the downtown business area’s roofline lighting in 2021, with brighter, more energy-efficient LED lights.

Camas Days enthusiasts also may recognize Quinn as a frequent announcer for the festival’s popular grand parade and bathtub races.

“Doug is extremely well-known and respected in this community, but it’s his dedication to this City that really made him the clear choice,” Hogan stated in a news release announcing the city administrator selection. “I think his familiarity with the city of Camas and his knowledge of the area will be extremely beneficial, and I’m excited to see what he can do for Camas.”

Camas has been without a permanent city administrator since former administrator Jamal Fox quit the position in May 2021, less than one year after being hired by then-Mayor Barry McDonnell. In July 2021, Camas City Council members approved an interim city administrator contract with Jeff Swanson, a former Battle Ground city manager and contract community development director for the city of La Center.

The city’s nationwide search for a permanent city administrator, led by Raftelis, an Ohio-based recruitment firm, wrapped up in April 2022, with a total of 34 applicants. City leaders narrowed the list of 34 down to four top candidates and introduced those “final four” to the community in mid-May, but Hogan declined to appoint any of the four candidates, saying then that he was looking for an applicant who had more city management experience.

In a video statement posted to the city’s website on May 23, the mayor noted that the city has some “pretty unique and significant issues (its) dealing with right now” and listed ongoing issues with the city’s joint fire department, a three-year computer system update, and “significant facilities needs.”

“So it’s more than just the average city administrator (responsibilities) we’re dealing with,” Hogan said. “We’re looking for someone with a city manager skill set rather than a city administrator.”

On June 6, the Camas City Council voted unanimously to increase the city administrator salary range by around 4%, to a range of $173,000 to $205,000 per year, bumping the city’s top pay scale step from $16,500 per month to $17,083 per month to help make the position more attractive to more qualified candidates.

After narrowing down another round of applicants, which included Quinn, the city introduced two more city administrator contenders to community members in September. Hogan offered the job to Bristol Ellington, then the deputy city manager and chief operating officer for the city of Henderson, Nevada, but Ellington declined the offer to take another position. The other finalist, Robert Pickels, a former city attorney in Sedona, Arizona, told Hogan he had decided to stay in retirement.

The mayor said then that he would continue to search for a qualified candidate to help him run the city.

“Camas is growing like a weed and it’s taking more and more talented staff to take care of everything we’re doing inside the city government,” Hogan told The Post-Record in May. “We need to increase our expertise and knowledge of how to adapt to a growing city. It’s better to take our time and get a person who has a really good knowledge of how governments work.”

If the Camas City Council approves Quinn’s appointment during its Dec. 5 meeting, Quinn will take over the city admninistrator role on Jan. 4, 2023.