The Baker City Council has chosen two men from out of state and one Oregonian as finalists to replace Fred Warner Jr. as Baker City manager.

The three are Steve Ashworth of Alpine, Wyoming; Jonathan Cannon of Saluda, North Carolina; and Scott McClure of Monmouth.

The seven city councilors voted unanimously Tuesday to name Ashworth and Cannon as finalists.

McClure gained support from Mayor Loran Joseph and councilors Arvid Andersen, Jason Spriet and Randy Schiewe.

Councilors Lynette Perry, Doni Bruland and Larry Morrison voted against picking McClure as a finalist.

Prior to voting on McClure as a finalist, Perry had this to say: “I would just like to go on record that I did not feel that he would be a good fit for Baker City.”

The three men will be brought to Baker City in November for in-person interviews and will meet with various community leaders and others interested in the selection process during that time.

They were chosen from 14 applicants — none from Baker County or elsewhere in Eastern Oregon — and were among six pared from that group. One of the six withdrew prior to the online interviews. Councilors interviewed the remaining five via Zoom Oct. 5-6. On Tuesday councilors met first in executive session (closed to the public) to discuss the candidates before convening in open session to choose the finalists.

The two candidates who were not picked as finalists asked that their names not be released unless they were chosen to continue the process, said Robin Nudd, the city’s human resources manager. She did say that one was from Virginia and the other from Missouri.

Information from their resumes:

McClure most recently served as Canby city administrator. He was employed in the community of 16,950 people from October 2019 to February 2020.

Prior to that he worked as city manager for the city of Monmouth, population 9,890, from January 2007 to October 2019. He also has worked as the city manager at Coos Bay in Oregon and for the city of Brush in Colorado.

He began his career in city government as an intern at Gladstone where he served for 6 months beginning in January of 1989. From there he spent nearly 7 years with the City of Gresham, beginning in July 1989.

McClure earned a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University in 1989. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1986 from Portland State.

Cannon holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from West Virginia University at Morgantown, West Virginia, with a minor in urban planning.

He has served as city manager of Saluda, North Carolina, a city of about 700, since August 2015. He also serves as the city’s zoning administrator, public works director, deputy finance officer and human resources director.

From May 2014 to August 2015 he was the Saluda zoning administrator and prior to that he was the owner of Cannon Works LLC, a gutter construction company, beginning in August 2011.

He worked as a gardener for the Corporation of the President in Bountiful, Utah, from January 2010 to July 2011, and in landscape architecture from March 2008 to January 2010. He was project manager for Luther Smith and Associates P.A. of Hendersonville, North Carolina, from July 2003 to February 2008.

Steve Ashworth also holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. He earned his degree at Iowa State University.

He has been employed as the executive director of Parks and Recreation at Jackson, Wyoming, since November 2009. Other job experience includes planner and assistant director of the Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation from April 2002 to November 2009; and Boise Parks and Recreation planner and project manager from February 1998 to March 2002.

From October 1993 to January 1998 he worked as landscape architect/department manager for Hillside Nursery in Boise. And from October 1990 to September 1993 he was employed as landscape architect for Rosehill Gardens in Kansas City, Missouri.

Plans for in-person visits

Nudd stated in an email to the Herald Wednesday that the three finalists will be invited to spend 2 days in Baker City.

The visits will happen after the Nov. 3 election. Joseph, the city’s mayor, has said that he wants to ensure that newly elected councilors, who won’t take office until January 2021, have a chance to meet the finalists. From three to six new councilors will be elected, the number depending on whether any of the three incumbents on the ballot are re-elected.

“During those 2 days, I would like the candidates to have the opportunity to tour our city facilities/departments and to schedule a ‘meet and greet’ on one of the nights,” Nudd stated.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be an open forum in the selection process as there has been in the past.

Instead, Nudd said she hopes to advertise three meeting locations (City Hall and two other locations to be determined). Each location would allow 10 people to come in and meet the candidates and have candid discussions with them.

After 30 minutes, candidates would move to the next location until they’ve had a chance to visit all three locations, she said.

Nudd said she hopes to have the dates determined by the end of this week. She added, however, that she would remain flexible and make adjustments or hold multiple meet and greets if not all of the candidates are able to attend at the same time.

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