Mt. Shasta city manager will retire in July. Here's how the city will replace Bruce Pope

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald
Mount Shasta's City Manager Bruce Pope in a photo taken at a Chamber of Commerce meeting in 2017.

Mt. Shasta City Manager Bruce Pope will retire mid-July, and the city council voted unanimously Monday to find an interim manager as soon as possible, so the candidate has time to learn the ropes before Pope's departure.

According to Pope, the council has two options: hire an interim city manager until a full time replacement can be found, or promote someone who is already a part of city staff. 

Pope noted that no existing staff has offered themselves for the interim role.

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Pope said finding a full time city manager could take six months, depending on the number of interested applicants. There is a collection of retired city managers that can be contacted through the League of California Cities who are willing to act as an interim for cities in need, with no intention of becoming full time employees, Pope said, and utilizing a someone from this list could ensure a smooth transition.

"That is my recommendation, go get an interim who is a professional and has no vested interest in what is going on here ... they may be the most subjective, and they'd have the most free time," said Pope.

He went on to caution that choosing an existing staff member could prove to be a burden to an already burdened staff. Pope and council agreed that recruiting through a third-party firm would likely garner the most qualified applicants for the job.

During public comment, city planner Juliana Lucchesi – who is also the mayor of Dunsmuir – recommended using a third-party process rather than having the city coordinate the search. Although Lucchesi is pleased with the way everything worked out when Dunsmuir hired Todd Juhasz in 2019, she explained the search was an arduous task to take on with little help.

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"We chose a wonderful candidate, but if I re-did the process, a third party would be better," Lucchesi said. She went on to say that the process was time consuming, consisting of resume and background checks, phone interviews, arranging applicants accommodations, and in-person interviews.

Councilor Tim Stearns recommended that staff reach out to the City of Yreka, since its city manager, Steve Baker, also recently announced his imminent retirement. In an effort to expedite the process, Stearns recommended reaching out to Yreka's city staff to see which recruitment firms they're utilizing to find candidates that could be a good fit for the uniqueness of Siskiyou County.

Councilor Jefferey Collings noted that city manager applicants could have families or be uninterested moving mid season, so he hopes the process can be completed quickly.