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Nina Regor, Cloverdale's city manager for the past five years, is leaving to take a job as top administrator of a city in Washington state.

Regor announced she has accepted the job as the city administrator in Camas, Wash.

"She has been doing a tremendously good job for the city. We're very sad to see her leave, though we understand," Cloverdale Mayor Joe Palla said Tuesday.

Regor, 51, will be paid about $128,000 in her new position, less than the $154,000 she makes in Cloverdale. But she said it will allow her to be nearer to family, including an aunt and an uncle that live in Washington. She also grew up in the area.

"I'm happy about the opportunity and getting closer to family," Regor said. "It will be hard to leave Cloverdale."

Camas, a city of 20,000 inhabitants, is just east of Vancouver, Wash., It has more than twice the population of Cloverdale. With 179 employees it also has more than four times as many city workers.

Before she came to Cloverdale, Regor was a deputy city manager in Spokane Valley, Wash.

Since she arrived in Cloverdale in late 2007, the recession along with the accompanying decline in property and sales tax revenues contributed to the city's general fund dwindling from $11 million annually to about $5 million.

Despite the financial constraints, Regor said the city completed a number of significant projects, including the Cloverdale Fire Protection District headquarters, the History Center and the Performing Arts Center.

Although those projects were team efforts involving collaboration with non-profit groups and others, Mayor Palla said, the city manager was a "key player. She had a big part in facilitating the process."

Palla said Regor has been very helpful in guiding the City Council during steady down-sizing of operations. "It's been a very challenging five or six years while she's been here," he said.

City Councilwoman Carol Russell said Regor has been a calming influence. "She's a shining example of that wonderful line in the days of World War II that became popular again: 'Keep Calm and Carry On,' " Russell said.

"She leaves us with a better organized staff than we had before; a staff we utilize better," Russell said.

The budgetary problems and reduced number of employees also left Regor with little if any administrative support.

The number of city employees went from 50 to 39 during her tenure.

"Not only is she in charge of overseeing all projects, city goals and objectives -- economic development looking for grants -- she does her own typing and own research," Palla said. "It's very labor intensive and time intensive."

Regor said there are financial challenges Cloverdale needs to work through. Some, she said, have been inflicted by the state, such as the elimination of redevelopment programs that helped finance improvements and were being counted on for future projects.

"I'm proud of the way we've managed our way through the budget," Regor said.

Palla said the city may seek to have an interim city manager for up to six months while a search is conducted for a full-time replacement. The interim manager would be drawn from the ranks of retired city managers available through the League of California Cities.

Regor will stay on the job until Jan. 23 and report for work in Camas on Jan. 25.

"I would like the transition to be as smooth for Cloverdale as possible. I will do everything I can to make it happen," she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or clark.mason@pressdemocrat.com