Doug Wiggins, a former Wyoming city administrator who is as comfortable directing traffic as a police officer as he is providing guidance to young basketball players, is taking the City of Union’s administrative reins.

Wiggins became the City of Union’s new city administrator Monday when the city council voted to ratify his contract.

“I’m excited to get going. I think I can fit right in with the right skill set needed to meet the expectations of the city council,” Wiggins said.

The council ratified a two-year contract that will pay Wiggins about $65,000 a year.

Wiggins served as the city administrator of Wheatland, Wyoming, a town of approximately 3,500, for 2-1/2 years before moving to Cove in June 2017. He was a police officer in Wheatland for about a decade before becoming its city administrator.

“We were very fortunate to find someone with his background and experience,” said Union City Councilor Walt Brookshire.

Wiggins moved to Union County from Wyoming when his wife, Heather, took a job as a nurse practitioner at Grande Ronde Hospital’s Union Health Clinic. The couple live in Cove and have a daughter, Haiden, 15, and a son, Caleb, 13.

Wiggins became a familiar face in local gymnasiums this past winter while working as a basketball official for high school and middle school games. Wiggins, who has been officiating for 10 years, is a member of the Northeast Oregon Basketball Officials Association.

“I love it (officiating basketball). It is fun working with kids,” Wiggins said, adding that he enjoys teaching young players the rules of the game while officiating.

Wiggins said he learned how to better deal with criticism during his tenure in law enforcement.

Overall, he said, he found his law enforcement career to be very fulfilling primarily because it gave him a chance to help many people including those in emergency situations.

Wiggins, who even enjoyed directing traffic, said the most challenging part of the job was rarely having a regular shift. He constantly switched from the day to swing and graveyard shifts.

“It wears on you over time,” he said.

A benefit of working in city administration is that it offers standard daytime hours, allowing him to spend more quality time with his family.

“It allows me to be with my family during more palatable hours,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins’ expertise in law enforcement will likely be drawn upon heavily by the Union City Council as it continues looking into how to beef up law enforcement services. The council has been studying its options since it opted not to renew its contract with the Union County Sheriff’s Office for enhanced services in 2016. Today, Union receives only minimal service from the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer