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City Administrator Discusses Challenges

Duties began back in July

The city of White Salmon recently created a new position of city administrator/public works director. To fill the slot, they hired Pat Munyan, who had been working as city administrator in Enterprise, Ore. Munyan began his duties on July 12.

As city administrator, Munyan's primary duties are to plan for city operations, and to provide day to day supervision of the Public Works Department, Police Department, Fire Department, and the Finance Department.

The Enterprise sat down for a brief interview with Munyan to learn about his background and to get his view of the city's overall outlook.

THE ENTERPRISE:

Please tell us a bit about your background.

MUNYAN:

I have worked in city government for over 30 years, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve the city of White Salmon in the capacity of public works director/city administrator. In my 30 years of experience, I have worked in several capacities ranging from maintenance worker, public works director, planning director, building official, and city administrator -- and in most cases, working in some combination of these positions at the same time.

THE ENTERPRISE:

What are the biggest challenges you see the city currently facing?

MUNYAN:

White Salmon, like several other communities, is faced with financial difficulties. The mayor and City Council have some tough financial decisions ahead of them. The city has reached a point where it is financially impossible with the current tax rates to continue providing the same level of services.

A major difference between White Salmon and other communities is our property tax mill rate. White Salmon's mill rate is one of the lowest in Washington state (11th from the bottom). The mayor and council are exploring several options which will require some difficult decisions that will impact the community.

THE ENTERPRISE:

What do you see as some of the advantages -- or disadvantages -- the city of White Salmon has over other cities you've worked in, or other cities in the Gorge?

MUNYAN:

Unlike larger communities, small cities do not have the money or necessities to have full-time staffing that are trained in one particular service. Because of these circumstances the staffs in smaller communities like White Salmon are required to take on additional work loads. This requires cross training in several areas in order to provide essential services to their community. I know the city of White Salmon has highly trained staff dedicated to providing quality service to our community. I think it is important for the community and management to recognize the work city staff does in order to save money and for the benefit of our community.

THE ENTERPRISE:

How do you like White Salmon? What are some of your favorite aspects of being here?

MUNYAN:

White Salmon is a beautiful community with wonderful people.

It is impressive when one thinks of how much has been accomplished in the community by volunteers. With our current situation the city has had to rely heavily on volunteer assistance to continue providing a full service city.

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