BG community members meet city manager finalists


BATTLE GROUND - Battle Ground community members were able to meet with the six finalists for the position of Battle Ground city manager during an open house at the Battle Ground Community Center on March 3.

Council Member Shane Bowman, who has been heading up the search for the city’s new city manager, started off the open house event by thanking Police Chief Bob Richardson, who has been acting as the interim city manager since former City Manager John Williams’ departure in December.

“I’m sure the chief feels like it’s been about a year,” Bowman joked.

Bowman said they received 26 applications for the city manager position and three of the city council members independently reviewed all of the applications and agreed on the six finalists.

The six finalists each took a few minutes to introduce themselves to the crowd made up of city staff, council members and community members.

The first to speak for a few minutes was Jeff Swanson, who currently serves as the director of economic development for Clark County. Swanson said he has been in the community in the Vancouver area for the past nine years. He said he has spent three years working for the county to improve the supply of employment land and improve on wages.

Swanson earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Portland State University, a graduate certificate in computer modeling and simulation and a master’s degree in economics from Portland State University.

Chris Sutter spoke next, saying that his family relocated to the Clark County area 24 years ago, 18 of those years being spent in the Battle Ground area. He said three of his four children have attended Battle Ground Public Schools, with his youngest currently being a freshman at Battle Ground High School.

“I feel I could sincerely advocate for the city of Battle Ground,” Sutter said.

Sutter currently serves as assistant chief of police for the city of Vancouver. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University.

Matthew Brown addressed attendees at the open house next, telling the crowd that the city of Forest Grove, OR, where he currently works, is similar to that of Battle Ground. He said he applied for the job of city manager because he has grown to love Battle Ground. Brown said his wife’s family is from the Battle Ground area, and the two have a 5-year-old daughter.

Brown currently serves as senior management analyst for the city of Forest Grove, OR, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Western Oregon University and a master’s degree in business administration from Marylhurst University.

Craig Ward, who currently serves as city manager for the city of Troutdale, OR, spoke next. He worked for the city of SeaTac as a long-range planner,  then as assistant city manager and then city manager, working 15 years total as a city manager.

“Every community I’ve worked in has always been a part of a larger metropolitan area,” Ward said.

Ward currently serves as city manager for the city of Troutdale, OR, and earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management, a master’s degree in forest management and a master’s degree in business management from Washington State University.

Next to speak was Daniel Chandler. Chandler is from Montana and then moved to the Clark County area, graduating from Evergreen High School. He has lived in Clark County for the past 20 years and said he is excited to be a part of a growing  and well-managed community.

Chandler currently serves as assistant county administrator/strategic policy administrator for Clackamas County, OR. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science/public administration from Western Washington University and a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

Last to speak during the open house event was Robert Maul. Maul previously worked as the community development director for the city of Battle Ground, and currently works as the planning manager for the city of Camas.

Maul and his wife, Amy, have spent 14 years in Clark County with their two boys, ages 10 and 8.

“I spent 11 years helping build and shape this community,” Maul said.

Maul earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Northern Colorado.

Council members met in an executive session the morning of March 4 and again in another executive session March 7 to discuss the six finalists. Council members were expected to offer the job to one of the six within the next couple of weeks.

“We are going to trust one of these six gentlemen with the keys to our front door,” said Mayor Philip Johnson at the end of the open house event.