The Spokane Valley City Council had another last-minute action item on Tuesday night’s amended agenda that left someone red in the face.
In a good, albeit embarrassed, way.
Deputy City Manager Mark Calhoun, who has held the reins to the city since the dismissal of former City Manager Mike Jackson in February, was named the acting city manager until Nov. 16.
The six-month period will give the council time to find a new city manager, a job which Calhoun was encouraged to apply for amidst much praise.
“Do you need to advertise, can’t you just promote from within?” asked Nina Fluegal, a Valley resident. “Can’t you switch the acting city manager into the permanent city manager? Just looking out for taxpayer money, you know.”
Mayor Rod Higgins said that “depends on a number of moving parts” and that the council had yet to decide on how to conduct a search.
“Mr. Calhoun is a good man, I think you should hire him,” added Tony Lazanis.
Calhoun has been the deputy city manager since 2014, a position that had been vacant for four years prior to that. The last one to hold that position had been Jackson, who was named city manager in 2010. Calhoun was picked over 44 applicants in a nationwide search that was whittled down to four finalists.
Calhoun was initially hired by Spokane Valley in 2011 to replace Ken Thompson, who retired after serving more than eight years as the city’s first finance director.
“Mr. Calhoun did an outstanding job as finance manager and he did an outstanding job as deputy city manager,” said Council Member Ed Pace. “He’ll do an outstanding job as city manager. I’m happy to vote for this.”
“As we search for a city manager, I hope he applies,” added Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard, noticing a blushing Calhoun. “You don’t have to get any more red than you are.”
Before coming to Spokane Valley, Calhoun served as the finance director for the city of Wenatchee for 16 years.
A graduate of the University of Montana, Calhoun holds a bachelor of science degree in finance and accounting. Born and raised in Montana, he is married and has two grown children.