Sun Valley administrator steps down
Wellman, Thorson reach ‘mutually
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Sun Valley City Administrator Jan Wellman
stepped down from his post last week after less than one year in office.
Wellman and Mayor Jon Thorson agreed
Friday, June 18, to exert a clause in Wellman’s employment contract that allows
for "separation without cause." The provision essentially allows Wellman and the
city to end the contract without being required to cite specific reasons.
The agreement became effective Friday, and
Wellman is no longer employed by the city.
"It was a mutually agreeable decision,"
Wellman said Monday.
Thorson concurred, noting that Wellman’s
service for the city was in no way being called into question.
"The separation was amicable," Thorson
said. "He was perfectly comfortable … There was nothing unusual. Nothing
Wellman said the move was prompted in part
by Thorson’s election to the mayor’s office last November. Thorson—who replaced
former Mayor David Wilson at the beginning of 2004—indicated he would be a
"full-time mayor" and intended to have a hands-on approach to managing City
Wellman said he and Thorson ultimately did
not see eye to eye on the role of the city administrator.
"I just think he wanted to go a different
way," Wellman said. "I think the mayor and I both saw that we had a different
vision of what the position is."
Wellman noted that when he was hired by
the city last August—when Wilson was in office—he was told clearly that as city
administrator he would be the administrative head of the city and would be
active in day-to-day government.
Thorson ultimately became a very
"hands-on" mayor and showed a profound interest in helping to manage day-to-day
affairs, Wellman said.
Thorson said the decision made Friday was
"There were expectations in the job that
were disappointing to him," the mayor said.
Wellman noted that his departure is
technically not a resignation. Indeed, no formal letter of resignation has been
submitted to the city, or will be, Wellman said.
Wellman was hired last August and started
work at City Hall last September. He worked previously as the city administrator
of Veneta, Ore, a city of approximately 3,000 residents outside of Eugene.
In hiring Wellman, Sun Valley officials
ended a five-month vacancy in the city administrator post, created when Dan
Pincetich resigned in April 2003.
Wellman and the city agreed to a contract
worth approximately $95,000 per year. The contract was set to last through 2007.
Wellman said a clause in his contract
provides for him to receive six months severance pay if the contract was
terminated without cause after June 1, 2004.
As a result of the agreement made, the
remaining term of Wellman’s employment contract will be voided.
Wellman said he will likely spend the
summer in the Wood River Valley before seeking another city administrator
position, possibly in Oregon.
"My wife and I have really enjoyed living
here," he said.
Thorson said he intends to hire another
city administrator in the near future. He said he will seek to hire an
administrator with a "vital interest in the community," who can help to ensure
Sun Valley is developed and maintained as an attractive mountain resort.
"I’ve given myself a couple of months to
do that," Thorson said.