Wes Hare responds to questions from city councilors Monday, June 14.
Salem resident and Keizer’s Interim City Manager Wes Hare came out of retirement to help Keizer last year when the city lost its prior manager of 20 years, Chris Eppley. Finance Manager Tim Wood took over as City Manager Pro Temp shortly after Eppley resigned following an accidental discharge of a personal firearm in his office.
The city began searching for a temporary manager last April 5. By July 7 of last year, they had approved Hare’s application and he took over from Wood.
Hare said being a temporary city manager is not for the faint-of-heart – there is a lot of stress, particularly if you’re coming in right after a turbulent period of time.
Hare had been a city manager – in one form or another – for 30 years prior to his retirement, including a prior stint as a temporary city manager for Toledo, Ore. after half of their city council resigned. Hare has served as permanent city manager in Oakridge, La Grande and Albany, as well as multiple trips overseas as an international development consultant in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lank and Tanzania.
A lot of his overseas work was pro bono. He would go into a country as a representative of either the state department or one of several organizations doing relief work in areas stricken by war, famine, or just bad government.
“I used to joke I was the only person who takes vacation to go to Afghanistan,” he said.
Technically, Hare says, he’s still retired. The temporary job was challenging but he enjoyed his time in Keizer.
“I enjoyed working with the council and the city of Keizer – they are really good people and they want to do the right thing by the community,” he said. “A lot of good participation – a lot of things going on. It was nice to be a part of that.”
Don’t expect Hare to move to Florida and buy a walker, though – he and his wife are planning a mission to help people struggling to survive in Eastern Europe.
“My wife and I would like to do some humanitarian relief work in Eastern Europe through our church, so we’re in the process of applying for doing that,” he said.