The two issues to be discussed in possible future Executive Sessions are; a Settlement Agreement between the City Administrator, representing the City of Shady Cove, and a former Employee and large portions of legal invoices being marked confidential. During the May 16 meeting legal bills were first brought up by City Administrator Danise Brakeman during her report. Brakeman handed out a memo to council which she said confirmed that this fiscal year’s legal bills are on track to be on par with bill totals from the previous two years. Council had no questions or comments on the memo. Both issues were discussed during council comment as Councilor Leith Hayes noted it had been two weeks since the motion to hold an executive session to discuss why the legal have so much information marked as confidential. Hayes also asked if there is a set deadline for when an Executive Session must be held once voted on.
Lastly Hayes asked if council could simply vote to make all invoices public. In answer to the last, Brakeman advised yes; however the city’s attorneys have advised if council makes the invoices public they may cease representation of the city. To the time issue, there is no set deadline. Per Mayor Ron Holthusen the reason for delaying the Executive Session on the legal invoices is: Counsel is sending a memo outlining the employment history of the former employee for council’s consideration. Along with this memo counsel will send a separate memo outlining why portions of invoices are marked confidential. Though council has already voted to hold the legal bills executive session, counsel feels they may get enough information from the second memo. Hayes agreed to wait for the executive session as long as progress is made.
Under new business the city’s contract with the Sheriff’s Department was renewed. Brakeman advised she did want to add language that would give the city more flexibility. What the city can and will do is to send a letter requesting special wording regarding cities who contract with the Sheriff be added to their main contracts when the work on their collective bargaining agreement sometime after the fall. During public comment Judy Burgess stated she and others she knows feel the city does not need a contract with the Sheriff at all, especially with such a low crime rate. She asked why the city doesn’t just take the free coverage places like Gold Hill and Trail get. Ed Mayer and Councilor Jim Ulrich provided the answers, with Ulrich noted that having a law enforcement presence factors into a low crime rate. Mayer further explained that the contract with the Sheriff gave the city an “iceberg” effect; citizens can only see a small portion of the services, e.g. patrol cars. The bulk, like the bulk of an iceberg, is unseen and include; labs, administrative work, specialized investigators, SWAT etc.
The final item of new business was a motion to deny Steve Mitchell’s request to have the $350 floodplain inspection fee on his property waived. Previously Mitchell stated that former Floodplain Manager Becca Croft advised him there was no fee. Brakeman presented council with a packet showing research done on the issue. While the beginning of Croft’s email letter did make it sound as though there would be no fee, later she stated that for Mitchell to get a Certificate of Compliance the necessary fees would need to be paid. Prior to the vote Ulrich asked if the city would still honor the negotiated $350 (vs. $550) fee even if council denied the waiver. Brakeman advised yes, for one property. The $550 fee will apply to the second property and both must be paid before July 1 as fees will increase on that date.
Mitchell spoke during public comment stating though grateful for due process, he feels Brakeman and Planner Lois DeBenedetti are “prejudice” against him due to his “expertise” with planning stemming from his working life.