Wheeler selected as city manager
Last updated 4/18/2023 at 6:16pm
Jordan Wheeler, the current city manager in Sandy was unanimously selected by City Council to become Sisters' new city manager, pending negotiations.
After making the announcement last Wednesday, Mayor Michael Preedin told The Nugget, "We didn't make this choice by ourselves. There were hundreds of people involved providing input."
A community meeting on Monday, March 27 saw about 50 people attend to meet the four candidates. Several different panels, plus the City staff and department heads, interviewed each of the four candidates. Jensen Strategies, the consultant hired to conduct the recruitment process, interviewed candidates, did background checks, and checked references.
Wheeler made a strong impression on community members, and that clearly carried over to staff and elected officials. Each councilor had positive comments about their choice.
Council President Andrea Blum said of Wheeler, "He was overall the very best-qualified candidate, and we had quality candidates this time around."
The Council had earlier rejected all four in a slate of candidates, deciding to continue their search.
Jennifer Letz offered, "Jordan just checked all the boxes for who we needed to move Sisters forward." Letz was impressed with the amount of time and hard work that went into a very thorough process. She also praised the amount of homework about Sisters obviously done by the candidates.
Gary Ross was impressed with the breadth and depth of experience that Wheeler brings to Sisters.
"Many of the issues faced in his current position are ones now facing Sisters," Ross said. "We were pleased to have four outstanding candidates. As this was my first time, I was very impressed with the entire recruitment and interview process, all the details included...I am very confident that the best person for the job was chosen after input from the community, staff, community leaders and partners, and the Council."
Erik Jensen of Jensen Strategies reaffirmed, "The City of Sisters ran a very thorough and complete process for this recruitment that involved input from the community, staff, and City Council."
In an interview by phone the day after his selection, Wheeler was upbeat. He said that the entire process was "fun to go through." He "enjoyed meeting lots of folks in the community as well as the City staff." He was especially impressed with the number of citizens who were engaged in the process and "obviously care about their community."
Wheeler expressed numerous times how much he and his wife love Sisters. Before their two daughters, ages five and three, start school, they wanted to find a community in which to settle, and Sisters made the list. Last summer they spent their vacation in Sisters and were impressed with the small-town atmosphere, the safe, beautiful environment with great parks and outdoor recreation, all topped off with a high quality of life. They enjoy Central Oregon and have family in both Bend and Redmond.
In preparation for coming to the eastside, Wheeler's wife has already been working remotely for the City of Bend as a senior management analyst.
Wheeler is most excited about becoming the City Manager in a "vibrant organization that's in good financial condition, with next year's Council goals already in place. There are numerous well-planned programs in place, and a great staff to carry them out."
He also looks forward to working with engaged community members who possess expertise in a number of fields.
There are several multi-million-dollar projects underway in Sandy, and Wheeler wants to be certain he is leaving the city in a good position before coming to Sisters, which means we will see him at City Hall this summer.
Sandy has a population of about 13,000 and a city budget of $20 million. Wheeler currently oversees 80 city employees, 20 of which make up the police force. Wheeler has dealt with many of the issues facing Sisters including houselessness, UGB expansion, development of a large subdivision, and working with Oregon Department of Transportation for the state highway that runs through Sandy.