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Administrator earns a favorable review.

Byline: RANDI BJORNSTAD The Register-Guard

They didn't talk about a pay raise, but Lane County Administrator Bill Van Vactor received a fortune in praise from the county commissioners when they conducted his annual evaluation on Wednesday.

In comments ranging from his sense of humor to his skill at guiding the county through some of the darkest budget outlooks in memory, the commissioners and members of the county staff generally gave Van Vactor "exceptional" marks for his management substance and style.

The evaluation comes just weeks after voters rejected all six of the bond measures the county placed on the November ballot.

The monetary picture for parks, public health and the county jail - among other proposed projects - has dimmed.

Filling out a written evaluation before the public session, Commissioner Bobby Green urged Van Vactor to continue his "prudence with the financial assets of Lane County."

"Bill is dedicated to ensuring that fiscally, Lane County shall not fall further behind and lose sight of the big picture. The governor's office should have 10 Bill Van Vactors - so much for deficits," Green said.

He also thanked Van Vactor for his occasional infusion of wit into the workings of county government.

"This job can be taxing, no pun intended, and it helps to have humor," Green said. "Those of you who don't spend much time with Bill outside the county, should - he's a lot of fun."

No one had a cross word to say about Van Vactor's performance during the 30-minute evaluation. Several of the commissioners fell back on nautical metaphors as they referred to their confidence in his ability to guide the county through its current financial difficulties, including the severity of impending cutbacks to county programs that depend on revenues from the state, as well as looming deficits the county faces in coming years to pay retirees covered by the Public Employees Retirement System.

Green urged him not to hesitate "to let us know (if) we are rowing the boat in the wrong direction."

Van Vactor "has the knowledge and experience to guide the Lane County ship through all types of weather," Morrison wrote in her evaluation.

And outgoing Commissioner Cindy Weeldreyer applauded his "team approach in how he guides this huge ship through troubled waters."

Besides the commissioners, a number of other elected officials and county staff members also offered observations about Van Vactor, who has worked for the county for more than 25 years, the past 10 as county administrator and as county counsel before that. His salary for the next year will remain at just under $116,000.

Peter Sorenson did not prepare a written evaluation of Van Vactor's performance, saying he found himself in agreement with comments submitted by county Assessor Jim Gangle, praising his recommendations as "always thoughtful and sound."

Except for one, maybe.

While Commissioner Anna Morrison lauded Van Vactor "for the wonderful job he's done this year," on the section of the evaluation form that asks, "You feel Bill (Van Vactor) should be doing more of the following," Morrison couldn't help venting a bit of partisan spleen.

Van Vactor could "be more supportive of the Beavers," she said.
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Title Annotation:County: Bill Van Vactor is commended for his fiscal prudence.; Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 21, 2002
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