Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
July 10, 2012
FALLS CITY -- July 2 wasn't the first or even second time Amber Mathiesen -- the city's top administrator candidate -- had been to Falls City.
Mathiesen's first impression of Falls City came in April, when she attended a Falls City City Council meeting. At the time, the city was contemplating how to proceed with filling its vacant administrator position.
"I do a lot of research before applying," Mathiesen said during a July 2 "meet and greet" session at the Falls City Community Center.
That visit proved particularly informative. It was the meeting where the council hammered out the administrator's job description -- and salary range.
"That gave me some idea of what the priorities of the city council are," Mathiesen said, adding it's apparent finances are a concern for the community. "Not overpaying the city administrator falls into that category."
The council interviewed Mathiesen for the second time July 2 after the meet and greet with city residents. Mayor Amy Houghtaling said following the interview, which took place in executive session, the council voted to begin contract negotiations with Mathiesen.
Mathiesen has been the management analyst for the city of Cornelius for six and a half years. The position has her doing a little bit of everything, including helping write the city budget, crafting policies and even taking meeting minutes.
"It's a catchall category, which is great because it's a lot of variety," she said.
Mathiesen said her wide range of responsibilities could prove valuable to Falls City, which stressed the need for a "Jack- or Jill-of-all-trades" when advertising the position.
"I have a diverse background," she said.
Before Cornelius, Mathiesen worked in North Plains, a small city in western Washington County, as an office support specialist. She assisted the city recorder and operated the city utility billing system.
She's worked in small towns before, but mostly on the edges of metropolitan areas. She said she will have to grow accustomed to Falls City's comparative isolation and rural setting.
"I think I would obviously have to build strong relationships with neighbors," she said. "I would work with other cities and agencies to bring things together."
Mathiesen, currently a resident of Beaverton, said the thought of working in a small town appeals to her.
"I see smaller cities as a focus in my career," she said. "I feel like tight-knit communities have a lot to offer."
She said in her visits to Falls City, she's seen plenty of evidence of the closeness of the community.
"There are people out in their yards talking to each other -- there seems to be great community ties," Mathiesen said.