Newport city councilor hired by city | New



NEWPORT – A Newport city councilor will become a city employee next month, the second council member to hold a senior paid position within the city in the past two years.

Councilor Aaron Collett will have to resign his seat by October 11, the day he becomes Newport’s new municipal engineer. Collett was appointed to the board in June 2020 to fill the seat vacated by City Attorney David Allen after Allen resigned to become the city’s legal counsel.

City manager Spencer Nebel officially announced Collett’s hiring at the regular city council meeting on September 20. department heads.

Acting city engineer Chris Janigo was also up for the job, who has held the post since Tim Gross resigned last year as director of public works and city engineer.

Janigo and Collett were the two finalists for the job. Nebel conducted the final interviews and he noted in his report to council that “it was a difficult decision to make, the two main candidates being directly affiliated with the town of Newport”.

At Monday’s meeting, the CEO thanked Janigo for the “excellent job” he has done as an interim engineer. “We are looking to improve Chris’ position,” said Nebel, to give him additional supervisory responsibilities.

Collett takes the helm as part of a departmental restructuring that separates Public Works, under the direction of recently hired director David Powell, of engineering. According to a city press release regarding his appointment, Collett is currently working for Oregon State University as an infrastructure project engineer. He previously worked for Civil West, the towns of Bend and Springfield and CH2M Hill. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and a Masters in Civil Engineering from OSU.

Nebel said the board would likely use the same process to replace Collett as it did to appoint him. The incoming city engineer was one of 12 candidates who interviewed councilors for Allen’s seat, which had been vacant for about a month and a half when Collett was appointed.

“I always assumed I had to be on the staff,” Collett joked. “I thought that’s what this seat is for. “

Mayor Dean Sawyer also thanked Janigo for his work as an interim engineer, highlighting his presentations to state and federal officials, including Senator Jeff Merkley, regarding the Big Creek Dam replacement project. “You did a terrific job,” Sawyer said.

“I would do it second, third and fourth,” Collett said. “And also just recognize the class Chris showed… just as professional as I thought, but it’s refreshing to see someone act that way.”

Collett’s last meeting as a board member will be on October 4, when staff will report on the process for appointing his replacement.

City Recorder Peggy Hawker worked for Newport for 21 years and said she couldn’t recall an occasion before Allen was hired when a councilor took on a job with the city. Peggy Sabanskas, owner of Nostalgia Estate Sales and a former city councilor whose 16-year term began in 1992, also said she had no recollection of such an event. She noted that she does not see a problem, as long as they step down from their seat on the board.


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