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Administrator Powers resigning in Electric City


Last updated 12/19/2019 at 1:19pm

From left, Councilmembers Birdie Hensley, Rich McGuire, Aaron Derr, Mayor John Nordine, City Administrator Russ Powers, and Councilmembers Lonna Bussert and Carol Nordine. - Scott Hunter photo

The city administrator in Electric City, who has shepherded through many of the projects that have turned out to be the most contentious in the last few years, will resign in January to work for the engineering firm that designed them.

Russ Powers delivered his letter of resignation Tuesday night, effective January 31, 2020, to the city council he admired during its last meeting before four new members take the place of the members they defeated in the election last month.

Some of them had said during the campaign they would likely seek to replace him, but current council members had nothing but praise for Powers last night.

"I want to thank Russ, because he's probably the best grant writer that we've ever, ever had," said Councilmember Lonna Bussert. "And grants keep our roads fixed; grants keep our city moving. If you don't have grants, you're losing money, period."

"I think you're the best asset this city has," said Councilmember Aaron Derr, the only sitting member who will still be on the council next month. "It's going to be horrible to see you go because I don't think people fully understand how hard grant writing is, how much bureaucracy it takes to get through all that. ... But I am happy for you, because it sounds like it is going to be an exciting step for you."

Powers said after the meeting that he plans to move to Yakima to take a job with Gray & Osborne Inc., a consulting engineering firm that has worked with Electric City for many years on projects from water tanks to the most recent street redesign.

"It has been an honor for me to work with you over the last 9 years," Powers told the mayor and city council in his letter. "I certainly hope that you will continue to support and pursue the effort to make effective and meaningful change in this community."

Powers wrote that he would "try to ensure that the transition of my duties goes as smoothly as possible" over the next 45 days. "I hope the next administration will continue to give the same level of service that you have helped to provide the residents of Electric City."

Council members and Mayor John Nordine also thanked each other at the end of the special council meeting, which was called to consider construction bids on a new park.

They rejected all bids as too high priced, however, leaving that task to the incoming administration and council.


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