City Council Fires City Administrator

The Vernonia City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to terminate without cause their contract with City Administrator Bill Haack.

The vote came following a Special Executive Session on December 10, 2013 at City Hall.

The City of Vernonia released the following statement on Wednesday December 11, 2013: “On Tuesday, December 10th, 2013, at a Special Meeting of the Vernonia City Council, the City Council held an executive session to consider discipline or dismissal of City Administrator Bill Haack. Council returned to open session where a motion was made and passed unanimously to terminate without cause City Administrator Bill Haack.”

Terms of Haack’s dismissal were not immediately available.

Haack has spent a lively and active three-and-a-half years as the Vernonia City Administrator.  He was appointed to the position as Pro Tem in June of 2010 following the resignation of former administrator Bob Young.  In May of 2011, Haack’s contract with the City was suddenly terminated by the City Council by a 3-2 vote during a City Council meeting; the three City Councilors who voted to terminate him were subsequently removed from office by the citizens of Vernonia in recall elections.  Haack was rehired as the permanent City Administrator by the newly appointed City Council in September of 2011.  That Council was made up of  Mayor Josette Mitchell and Councilor Randy Parrow along with new Councilors Bruce McNair, Kim Tierney, and Donna Webb.  All five made up the Council that voted to terminate Haack’s contract on Tuesday.

Haack has overseen a period of tremendous change in the City of Vernonia.  He has moved the City forward in planning for the Wastewater Upgrade Project and the planning of the New Spencer Park facility.  He was instrumental in laying the ground work  for the Rose Avenue Project, which will relocate the Vernonia Health Clinic, Senior Center and Vernonia Cares Food Bank.  He has been an integral part of the City’s rebuilding efforts following the 2007 flood and was an active participant in the Oregon Solutions process that helped build the new Vernonia Schools campus.  He  initiated a Brownfield Program in the City.  He was also involved in the firing of controversial Police Officer Michael Kay.

In recent months Haack and the City Council have had difficulty moving forward and working together on numerous issues, including a project to remove biosolids from the wastewater lagoons.

The City Council met three times in Executive Session during the two weeks prior to Haack’s dismissal to discuss  Haack’s job performance.  Council was scheduled to meet again on Thursday December 12 at 6:30 at City Hall in a Work Session to discuss the vacant City Administrator position.