Todd Fuller was chosen by the Vale City Council last week to be the next city manager. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).
VALE – Todd Fuller said he considered applying for the Vale City Manager slot a year ago but the timing wasn’t quite right.
“I was pretty new to the council and I kind of wanted to sit back and get a feel for what was going on,” said Fuller last week.
Fuller’s hesitancy didn’t linger and last week the Vale City Council chose the longtime local resident to be the new city manager.
“This time around, I thought this would fit me and it would be really nice to work in the same town I live in,” said Fuller.
Fuller, who is also a city councilor, was one of 10 applicants reviewed by the city’s hiring committee. The committee interviewed five people, said Katy Lamb, interim city manager.
Fuller was appointed to the city council in 2019 and was elected in November.
The unanimous decision by the Vale City Council Jan. 26 means Fuller will step down from his council post and start as city manager March 1.
Fuller, who works in a management positon at Woodgrain in Fruitland, said he already has several goals. Woodgrain is a moulding and millwork manufacturing firm.
“A key goal is a happy city, of course,” said Fuller.
Fuller said he wants to make sure the city’s emergency services “are a big focus.”
“Same with public works. I want to make sure employees know who I am and I am there to support them and make sure they feel secure in their jobs,” said Fuller.
Fuller said the city also faces some challenges he wants to tackle.
“One of the biggest things I see is it kind of seems like there are a lot of eyesores when you drive into Vale at either end,” said Fuller.
Fuller said he would “really like to see the city cleaned up.”
He said he also would like to address the abandoned mushroom plant in town.
“It has been an eyesore for years. It seems like we get close to maybe something happening and then nothing happens. We need to get it into someone’s hands who wants to bring some jobs in,” said Fuller.
In December, the firm that owns the plant, Western Heritage Investments LLC., filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Boise.
The plant began production of mushrooms in 1988 but closed suddenly in 2007. Since then, the fate of the building remained in limbo.
Fuller said he will face a learning curve as city manager but he welcomes the opportunity.
“I want to get out and hit the streets and talk to people,” said Fuller.
Vale Mayor Tom Vialpando said Fuller will make an impact.
“Todd has the vision we are looking for, for Vale to progress but not change,” said Vialpando.
Vialpando said Fuller’s management experience at Woodgrain will be a plus for the city.
“He knows the position and I am happy with the decision,” said Vialpando.
The city manager job has been a bit of a revolving door during the past few years.
After longtime city manager Lynn Findley retired in early 2018, the city hired Alan Daniels. Daniels then resigned under pressure weeks later and Lamb became interim city manager.
In May 2018, Lamb was appointed city manager after a unanimous vote by the city council.
In December 2019, Lamb announced she was going to retire and the council eventually hired Russell Kirkpatrick to replace her. Kirkpatrick, though, resigned abruptly in July and Lamb stepped again until a new city manager could be found.
Lamb said Fuller was the right choice.
“I think they picked a very good person,” said Lamb.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
SHARE YOUR VIEW - Submit a letter to the editor to [email protected]or by mail to PO Box 310 Vale, OR 97918. Letters are limited to 250 words. Form letters aren't eligible. Include your name, city of residence, email/phone number for verification purposes. Let the community know what you think!
SUPPORT OUR VITAL LOCAL WORK: We provide Malheur County the local journalism that searches out the facts for you. SUBSCRIBE FOR $5/month. Click HERE.