City of Ashland selects new city manager

ASHLAND, Ore. – The City of Ashland chose a new city manager. Joseph Lessard has been selected as Ashland’s first City Manager since a Charter Amendment was passed by the voters in a Special Election in May 2020, changing the form of government from Mayor/Administrator to Council/City Manager.

The City of Ashland said the change from City Administrator to City Manager became effective January 1, 2021; however, Lessard is the first regular hire to fill the role. The City Council unanimously confirmed his appointment in a Special Meeting held on December 10, 2021.

After an intensive interview and selection process involving the City Council, Community Stakeholders, and staff, Joseph Lessard emerged as the top candidate. The City said Lessard is a visionary, goal-oriented leader with a collaborative style and approach to complex issues. He holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Finance and two bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Political Science. His most recent public sector experience was as an Assistant City Manager for the City of Austin, Texas.

“The City of Ashland will no doubt benefit from having this position filled with a man of Joe’s considerable experience and innovation in the areas of housing, economic development, and public resources. I’d also like to thank Gary Milliman for his service in helping our city sort through its finances and public policies during his tenure as Interim,” said Mayor Julie Akins.

Gary Milliman has served as the City Manager Pro Tem since the departure of Adam Hanks in August. As the City has weathered the impacts of COVID-19, Milliman stepped in to ensure a smooth transition of duties. During a challenging time, the Council, staff, and community have appreciated his calm and steady leadership. Gary plans to remain available to support the city as needed to help ensure continuity of leadership.

City staff and elected leaders are excited to welcome Joe Lessard to work on January 3, 2022.

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