Monmouth gets interim manager

Hough fills in as Hecksel leaves for Colorado

MONMOUTH -- Jim Hough jokes that if his job as Monmouth's interim city manager goes smoothly, "people wouldn't even know that I've been here."

Hough, 61, of Reedsport was selected by Monmouth officials last week to temporarily fill the city manager position vacated by Jeff Hecksel, who has moved to Colorado.

Council members were expected to formally adopt Hough's contract at a meeting Sept. 7.

Hough will serve as city manager for at least the next six months while the search begins for a permanent replacement, Monmouth Mayor Larry Dalton said.

Hough said today would be his first on the job.

"I'm excited, the city has a great reputation," Hough said. "It's the kind of place where people want to live and work."

Hough was the city manager of Reedsport from 1997 to 2003, and has spent most of the past year working on a temporary basis for different cities in Oregon.

Last fall, he served as Beaverton's director of human resources and from November 2003 until April, was the interim city manager of Warrenton.

Prior to that, he worked three years as a public employee for Arkansas City, Kan.

"Local government is what's closest to citizens and that aspect of being a city manager really appeals to me," he said, "making the everyday operations transparent so you know what's going on and see that things happen."

Hough said his goal is to make the transition period between Hecksel's departure and the hiring of a new city manager as seamless as possible.

"The best thing you can do as an interim person is to help the organization continue what they're doing, without interruptions," he said.

"Projects that are ongoing may need to continue, those that need to be finished will hopefully come to fruition.

"You don't want to change the momentum of the way things are going at all."

Hough will live in an apartment in Monmouth during the week and return home to Reedsport on weekends to spend time with his wife, Marky.

Hough spent last week getting acquainted with the community and meeting with Monmouth city staff as well as Independence City Manager Greg Ellis, who coordinated several projects with Hecksel.

Hough said he was looking forward to maintaining the working relationship between the towns.

"That's a bond known throughout the state," Hough said. "Being here only confirmed it."

Though Hough has been in Oregon for the last decade, he's an east coast transplant. He was born and raised in Miami, Fl. with his sister and two brothers. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland, where he earned a degree in engineering in 1966.

He served in the Navy as an officer for 28 years until retiring as a captain in the early '90s. He did his graduate work at the University of San Diego and Wichita State University.


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