Salem City Manager Steve Powers Set to Retire February 28

Posted on December 7, 2021

Salem, Ore. — Salem’s City Manager, Steve Powers, announced plans to retire effective February 28, 2022.  Mr. Powers joined the City of Salem six years ago, in November 2015.  He and his wife will re-join their growing family in Michigan.

“I can’t thank City Manager Steve Powers enough for his outstanding work on behalf of the City over the past six years,” said Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett. “His highly professional leadership during this period of COVID, homelessness, population and economic growth, a new Police Station, seismically upgraded library and historic improvement to the protection of our water supply. His retirement is well earned. I look forward now to continuing the City’s work in cooperation with Acting City Manager Kristin Retherford and our outstanding leadership staff.”

Mr. Powers and his wife relocated to Salem from Michigan where he held the role of City Administrator in Ann Arbor.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Political Science from Augustana College and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. He came to the City of Salem with more than 25 years of government leadership experience, which included financial management, economic improvement and expansion, and creation of community partnerships.

“Working with Salem mayors and city councilors, department directors, staff, and the community is a highlight of my career,” Mr. Powers said.  “Salem’s use of the council/manager form of government is an effective partnership of policy and administration. We have made progress on community priorities established by city council that are essential to maintaining and improving the quality of life for all in Salem.  I’m honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to contribute over the past six years.”

In Salem, the City Manager is appointed by the City Council, serves as the chief executive officer of the city, and implements policies made by the City Council.  The City Manager is also Executive Director of both the Urban Renewal Agency and the Salem Housing Authority.  The City Manager is responsible for:

  • Implementing City Council direction and informing City Council of operational needs and priority matters,
  • Preparing annual budgets for the City of Salem and the Urban Renewal Agency
  • Promoting community and intergovernmental partnerships to solve community challenges
  • Administering city departments and facilitating community engagement and outreach

A nationwide recruitment for Mr. Power’s successor, facilitated by a third-party contractor, will begin shortly.  Should the recruitment for Salem’s next City Manager extend beyond March 2022, Kristin Retherford will step into the role on an interim basis.  She has been Salem’s Urban Development Director since December 2015. Prior to Salem, she was the Economic Development Manager for the City of Wilsonville for 12 years.  She has a master’s of business administration degree in sustainable development, is a past president of the Oregon Economic Development Association and the Association of Oregon Redevelopment Agencies, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the State of Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority.


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