Why Sandy wins the Ethical City award – and Molalla comes in DEAD LAST

In the past few days, local residents and city leaders have put seven police chief hopefuls under the microscope.

Sandy is moving into the final stages of choosing the next Sandy police chief.

The choice is left to the new chief’s supervisor, City Manager Scott Lazenby, but he will be taking advice from a variety of sources before conducting extensive background checks and likely site visits to the top candidate’s current location.” – Sandy Post 3-9-2010

Recently, there was a great letter to the editor in the Molalla Pioneer. The writer protested the secrecy surrounding the selection of Molalla’s interim police chief. May of us wondered who the candidates were and how 2 City Councilors, the Mayor (trained, it seems, in North Korea) and the nasty, so to be history City Manager could have been allowed to select the chief with no disclosure about who the other candidates were and without any citizen involvement.

Don’t get me wrong – given Molalla’s horrific history of behind closed doors dealings that are always a slap in the face to citizens this wasn’t a surprise. There will be a slew of sleazy excuses about why names couldn’t be released, blah, blah, blah.

We’ve heard it all before.

Just say that most of the Council, the Mayor and the failed current manager are terrified of citizen involvement – after all, the Mayor’s son “leads” the Parks Committee and the Mayor’s son is about to stick it to the taxpayers with a recall attempt based on personal spite. Can you spell N-E-P-O-T-I-S-M?

Land of the Lost! Talk about NEPOTISM AND DYNASTIC RULE! Let’s get out the video of the City Council meeting where Mayor Clarke just about spat in the face of the Council when he didn’t get to be city manager.

The Council presented Clarke with a plaque in fall of 2007 to thank him for being interim city manager. Clarke spewed venom like a kid having a temper tantrum because his Mom wouldn’t buy him a candy bar and flounced (I like flounced – it fits Clarke!) out of the meeting! Poor little man didn’t get the big paying job.  Boo hoo. Too bad voters were dumb enough to put him back in office – I guess we forgot to get out that video of a grown man having a meltdown in public because he didn’t get his greedy way. I wish I could rent a billboard  and play the video tape over and over of Clarke’s pubic meltdown  so people could see what their cry baby Mayor is really all about.

It’s so easy to provide PROOF about how a SUCCESSFUL, ETHICAL, TRANSPARENT city – Sandy – made its choice for a new police. Sandy is about the same size as Molalla but is light years ahead in citizen involvement. Maybe that helps explain why Sandy’s foreclosure rate was only one out of every 845 houses in July while in Molalla it was a horrific one out of every 160 houses getting a notice in July!

It must be that Sandy fosters respect for its citizens and attracts a better, more stable population? Anyone looking at Sandy’s website notes that Sandy values working toward realistic goals to build a well-balanced, quality city. Go figure – Sandy actually collects SDCs and uses them to improve the place for the residents! WOW! How could that be – a city that works to honor those already there and that collects fees so the city can continue to improve its quality and its livability!

Ironically, Molalla ended up with one of Sandy’s police chief candidate rejects.What’s new?

The huge joke now will be to see if any sane person is going to accept the job of City Manager for Molalla. Given what has been published about the pathetic in fighting between the City Councilors, the blow ups in Council meetings (god forbid any candidates witness a City Council meeting – they would probably get a speeding ticket getting out of Buckerooville never to return!) and the low quality of blighted Molalla with its shrinking by the day finances, I bet the best candidates will run like the wind once they see Molalla’s “government” up close and personal.

After all, the loser manager here now wasn’t by any means the first choice last time around – the first picks in 2007, I hear, turned the city down.

I wonder how many are dropping out of the race as they learn more?

So here it is – a fantastic honest account of the process that ethical, successful Sandy  – a city that blows Molalla off the County stage – used to pick their police chief. Read it and weep if you are an abused citizen of Molalla!

City leaders, residents scrutinize police chief finalists

City manager expects new chief to be on the job by early April

By Jim Hart

The Sandy Post, Mar 9, 2010

In the past few days, local residents and city leaders have put seven police chief hopefuls under the microscope.

Sandy is moving into the final stages of choosing the next Sandy police chief.

The choice is left to the new chief’s supervisor, City Manager Scott Lazenby, but he will be taking advice from a variety of sources before conducting extensive background checks and likely site visits to the top candidate’s current location.

One of the first opportunities to meet the final group, at least for local residents and some city staff, was an informal reception Monday, March 8, at Sandy Vista apartments, where each candidate spoke to the audience for a few minutes and then informally met one-on-one during the evening.


Seven people have risen to the top of a several-month search for candidates to replace retired Police Chief Harold Skelton. Currently serving as interim police chief is (former) Police Chief Fred Punzel.

The city hired the consultant team at Prothman Company of Bellevue, Wash., to recruit for the position, sift through the applications and present Lazenby with finalists.

Lazenby said he would likely be announcing his decision later this month.

Here are some brief descriptions of the finalists (listed alphabetically):

Thorvald Dahle

Dahle has risen through the ranks over the past 22 years to his present position of captain with the police department at Fargo, N.D., a city of about 93,000 people.

But his roots are on a farm near a small town (population 800) in central Minnesota.

“From a young age, I came to understand the importance of getting involved in a small town,” he wrote on his application. “People find it easy to approach me and ask questions or explain their concerns. I want to bring that experience to Sandy.”

Dahle’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration, both from Moorhead (Minn.) State University.

The style of leadership Dahle says he uses includes allowing others to be a part of decision-making. He believes “micromanagement stifles innovation.”

Dahle says he has learned he needs to “get involved or get out of the way.”

“I have learned to recognize my limitations,” he wrote in his application, “but more importantly to not underestimate my potential or those around me.”

Layne Erdman

Erdman has risen through the ranks over the past 18 years to the position of police chief/fire marshal at West Richland (Wash.), a city of about 11,000 people.

About a month ago, however, a new mayor took office and immediately requested the resignations of the city administrator and police chief. Erdman, therefore, is available for immediate employment.

During the past couple of decades, Erdman says he learned he likes a small-town lifestyle.

“Throughout my career,” he wrote in his application, “I have learned that I prefer smaller communities, primarily for the opportunities they provide for broad community involvement, direct impact, improved local services and lifestyle conditions.”

Erdman’s education includes an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia Basin (Wash.) College as well as a couple of university courses in administration.

During his career, Erdman has learned a number of lessons, including the negative and positive impacts of law enforcement, “and how the words of law are often not as important as the intent behind them.”

Stanley Grubbs

Grubbs has had a number of different law enforcement jobs, including as an officer in Milwaukie for three years and 25 years with the Portland Police Bureau, where he retired as assistant chief. Later he did background investigations for the Tigard Police Department, and for the past three years he has been an inspector for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

The only finalist who lives and works in Sandy, Grubbs says he will bring a lot of high-level administrative and law enforcement experience to his next job.

“I have the passion and commitment to move the department forward,” he wrote in his application, “with leadership, strategic planning, implementation of best practices and community partnerships.”

Grubbs’ education includes a bachelor’s degree in the administration of justice from Portland State University and many hours of varied training leading to a number of certifications.

While describing his character in his application, Grubbs said he views this position as “a continuance of my life journey …”

“I have learned to turn weaknesses into strengths,” he wrote, “be able to make tough decisions and be the leader others expect.”

Rod H. Lucich

After beginning a career that included three years with Milwaukie police, Lucich rose over 27 years through the ranks of the Portland Police Bureau to lieutenant before taking a respite last July.

The Oregon City resident says as an officer he always emphasized training until it made a difference.

“I wanted to pass on my passion,” he wrote in his application, “for an officer to be hard working, fully competent and most of all, above reproach in personal and professional conduct.”

Lucich’s education includes majors in music education at four schools in Oregon and Texas. He followed that with classes at Portland State University in the administration of justice and has, over the years, earned eight certifications as a police officer, supervisor, canine master trainer and a mid-management leader.

For the past several years, Lucich has managed the planning for a $100 million regional training center.

Lucich has worked with specialty units in Portland such as auto theft, motorcycles and the canine unit – a promotion that came after only three years with the department.

“I was selected (for the canine unit),” he wrote in his application, “and I was told it was because of my work ethic coupled with an even temperament and self-control under stress.”

Thomas Sonoff

Sonoff has risen from officer to sergeant over his 16 years with the Whittier (Calif.) police and over the following nearly 10 years from captain to chief of the police department at Signal Hill (Calif.), a city of about 12,000 people.

Sonoff, who already had decided to move his family to Oregon, chose to apply for employment at Sandy because he sensed it is “continually looking for ways to improve service.”

Sonoff’s education includes an associate’s degree in the administration of justice from Rio Hondo College (Calif.), as well as a bachelor’s degree in applied management and a master’s in human and organizational development, both from Azusa Pacific University (Calif.).

Sonoff believes his 26 years in law enforcement, and particularly his work as project manager for the construction of a new police facility, will serve Sandy well.

He says his experience in a metropolitan area as a small town’s top cop has brought many lessons.

“As the chief of police of a small community,” he wrote in his application, “I have learned the concept and importance of working closely with community and business members to address issues and strengthen the relationship with the police department.”

Robert Vadasy Jr.

Vadasy rose through the ranks of the Henderson (Nev.) Police Department over 21 years to the position of captain in a city of about 270,000 people. He retired from that position last fall.

Describing his varied abilities and experience, he wrote in his application: “I excel at accomplishing day-to-day tasks or multi-million-dollar projects.”

Vadasy has enrolled in classes at the University of Nevada — Las Vegas and Eastern Michigan University with undeclared majors and at the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College with a major in public administration.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has, over the years, earned four certifications as a police officer, supervisor and manager.

Vadasy believes his acquired skills from past experience will assist Sandy as it reaches out for department accreditation and builds a new facility.

“Democratic” is the word he uses to describe his management style.

“Employees who help plan,” he wrote in his application, “who are empowered with a level of decision-making authority, who are part of the solution, are more apt to accomplish goals and objectives.”

Kim Yamashita

After 16 years with the U.S. Air Force, Yamashita retired as a master sergeant. During 16 more years with the police department at Washougal (Wash.), she attained the level of sergeant and was on call as acting police chief (second in command) for 11 years. In December 2009, she became an officer for the Vancouver (Wash.) Police Department.

Yamashita’s education includes state certification in criminal justice as a reserve officer as well as a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Kaplan College in Boca Raton (Fla.) and a master’s in management from the University of Phoenix at Vancouver (Wash.).

“My long-term professional goal,” she wrote in her application, “is to establish a legacy that displays my dedication to the career of law enforcement and the community by creating a department that is an integral part of the city of Sandy.”

Yamashita believes her leadership lies in not asking her people to do something she has not done.

“Whether it be washing a patrol car or responding to a homicide,” she wrote in her application, “my people can count on me to provide the leadership and example they need.”

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The Sandy Post

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