Local News – City Manager Hiring; Gas prices lower, but still high; Digital Mammography; Bridge Work

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City Manager Replacement Likely to Come From Within

The City of Florence is taking a different direction in looking for a successor to City Manager Bob Willoughby.  After five years he announced last week that he would be leaving December 31st to take a similar position in Silverton.  Mayor Phil Brubaker says the transition has actually been in place for some time.

Phil Brubaker – “We instituted an assistant City Manager position because we felt we had a potential at that time of promoting from within.  That plan has paid off and at least at this sitting the city council has, agreed in concept to the idea of promoting Jacque Betz to be our next City Manager.”

It’s a plan, he says, that appears to be supported by the entire council.

Phil Brubaker – “I think the current council is a hundred percent behind that concept.  We will need some kind of a contract or part time human resources capability which can be very time consuming when there’s hiring, firing or other issues going on.”

But, just because it has tacit approval, doesn’t mean that it’s automatic.

Phil Brubaker – “We’ve scheduled an executive session before our next city council meeting on December 5th.  That’s a personnel session so it is private under the statutes.  And we’ll decide on which approach to take at that time, but with the goal of having concluded negotiations or discussions by new years.”

Betz has worked for the City of Florence for 12 years, starting as an administrative assistant at the Police Department.


Gas prices fall, but still above recent years

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fell in Florence this past week by three cents.  It’s now at $3.66 a gallon, seven cents higher than the statewide average of $3.59 as measured by Triple-A.  Oregon’s average price fell by four cents this past week, but is still considerably higher than the $3.30 national average price.  Marie Dodds with Triple-A says even though prices have fallen over the past few weeks, they’re still much higher than usual for this time of year.

The previous high Oregon average price for the week after Thanksgiving was $3.15 in 2007.  Oregon has the seventh highest average gas price… Missouri, with an average of $3.02 a gallon is the nation’s lowest.

Bridge work and inspection to restrict traffic

Motorists crossing the Siuslaw River in Florence tomorrow will likely experience delays.  The Oregon Department of Transportation will be conducting a bridge inspection, as well as work on repairing lighting and adjusting the lift span.  Flaggers will control one-lane traffic tomorrow morning between nine and eleven for an inspection.  Then, beginning at seven pm and running through one am Friday it will be limited to one lane once again.  Nighttime delays of up to 20-minutes are also anticipated while the span is lifted and adjusted.

Digital Mammography

Peace Harbor Hospital will hold an open house this Saturday from noon until two to show off the Women’s Imaging Center.  It was recently upgraded to feature digital mammography equipment that provides a clearer image that could allow doctors to spot tumors at an earlier stage.