White Salmon Loses CFO to Stevenson, Picks Her Successor

By SVERRE BAKKE

The Enterprise

sbakke@whitesalmonenterprise.com

The City of White Salmon has hired a new clerk/treasurer and the City of Stevenson has found itself a new city administrator.

Jan Brending, currently Bingen’s city administrator, takes over for Leana Johnson as White Salmon clerk/treasurer on Oct. 9. Johnson officially became Stevenson’s city administrator on Monday, Sept. 18.

White Salmon hired Johnson in April 2011. Friday, Sept. 15, was her last official day here.

Said White Salmon Mayor David Poucher of the change in personnel, “I believe it bodes well for the city to see our employees move up and then to see other individuals want to come to work for the city.”

Bingen hired Bren-ding as its clerk/treasurer in April 1999. The mayor of Bingen promoted her to city administrator in January 2008, with additional duties while still fulfilling the responsibilities of city clerk/treasurer.

Brending said she is leaving Bingen for personal and financial reasons. “The City of Bin-gen has done nothing to cause me to make this move,” she noted.

Bingen Mayor Betty J. Barnes has not yet named a replacement for Brending.

Johnson, who completed a master’s degree in Public Administration last spring, though the birth of her first child, a son, came earlier than she had anticipated.

“I went into labor earlier than planned — it was the day of my hooding ceremony for my degree,” she noted.

When she began studying for her master’s degree, Johnson said it was “with the goal of eventually stepping into an administrator position sometime in the future. The opportunity opened up [in Steven-son] and I decided to apply.”

White Salmon City Administra-tor Patrick Munyan said, “Leana was ready to take the next step to a city administrator and I am excited for her.”

He added, with a touch of humor, “Just when I get all the right people in the management positions and things moving in a positive direction, one decides to retire and another decides to advance her career.”

Police Chief Tracy Wyckoff is retiring Oct. 31, and longtime city planning assistant and permitting specialist Dixie Walker will be taking her leave on Feb. 15, 2018.

Johnson said her job in Stevenson, which is where she resides, is on top of the duties of clerk/treasurer.

“The new responsibilities include supervising the operations of the city, representing the city on various boards and committees, and negotiating contracts,” Johnson explained.

She performed some of these tasks on a limited basis in White Salmon, while also fulfilling the requirements of the clerk/treasurer job description.

Johnson, who gave up a good job in the private sector to become the local municipal government’s chief financial officer, said, “In both arenas, I’ve work-ed with amazing people and have had great experiences.”

Her preference, though, is to work in the public sector.

“I find it easier to put in the long hours when I am working for my community rather than for the bottom line of a corporation,” Johnson said.

For Brending, the main differences between being an administrator and a clerk/treasurer are significant. In White Salmon, “I will not be supervising Public Works employees; acting as city land use planner, doing code enforcement, or acting as a building department technician.”

She said she also performs some clerical aspects at Bingen City Hall related to receipting, utility billing, accounts payable, and licensing “that I will do very little of in White Salmon.”

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