Mayor Breaks Tie in Search Firm Vote

Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann, left, and Councilor Lori Davis listen as Councilor Rod Hardin explains his preference for a search firm to find candidates to replace retiring City Manager Ed Brookshier.

A small piece of history was made Monday night at Hermiston City Hall.

The Hermiston City Council took up a vote to hire a firm to search for candidates to replace City Manager Ed Brookshier when he steps down at the end of next year. Councilor George Anderson made the motion to retain the services of The Prothman Company, a firm out of Issaquah, Wash., and Mayor Dave Drotzmann asked for a roll call. The votes – and the order in which they were cast – were as follows:

Anderson: Yes

Manuel Gutierrez: Yes

Doug Primmer: Yes

Rod Hardin: No

Lori Davis: No

Frank Harkenrider: No

With Councilors Jackie Myers and John Kirwan absent from Monday night’s meeting, that meant the vote was a 3-3 tie. And so, for the first time in his 11-month tenure as mayor, Drotzmann cast the deciding vote in favor of Prothman.

Drotzmann said he voted for Prothman because of its experience in finding candidates that were a good fit for cities such as Hermiston.

“This position is too valuable not to go with someone with a proven track record,” Drotzmann said.

Prior to the vote, Anderson said Greg Prothman, the firm’s president, served as a city manager for nine years and specializes in finding candidates for municipal positions.

“This is the most important thing the city council will do for a long time,” Anderson said. “I want to make sure we have a good selection of candidates.”

Councilor Rod Hardin said he “strongly disagrees” with Anderson. He said someone who’s been a city manager might have a set way of doing things.

“It might be different than what we want,” he said. Councilor Frank Harkenrider said he supported the other finalist, Waldron, because it was based in Portland and he preferred to hire an Oregon firm.