Citizen of the Month – Councilor Susan Wagner selected Richard Traver and David Sterner as the Citizens of the Month for their efforts to make upgrades and improvements around their business, Calypso’s, at Vernonia Lake.
Council Schedules Work Session for Police Chief Contract – Council scheduled a work session for June 6 to review a draft contract for the open Police Chief position. City Administrator Josette Mitchell told the Council she hopes to post the position for applicants starting July 1, 2023. The position has been open since the City mutually agreed to end their employment contract with former Chief Michael Conner on December 13, 2022.
Council Approves Second Readings of Ordinances – Council voted 4-1 to approve the second reading of Ordinance 939 which amends the City’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB); Councilor Donald Normand voted against the Ordinance. Council also voted 4-1 to approve the second reading of Ordinance 914 which regulates smoking in city parks; Councilor Normand voted against the Ordinance. Both resolutions will take effect 30 days from this second reading.
Council Declares Vehicle as Surplus Property – Council voted 5-0 to adopt Resolution 2023-04 and declared a 1999 Ford F350 Dually Chassis Cab 4x4 from the Public Works Department as surplus and authorized the City to sell the vehicle.
Police Department Report – Police Sergeant Shawn Carnahan provided the Council with a written report which said the Department has completed Oregon’s Criminal Justice Information Systems Triennial Audit which assures all department policies are updated.
Carnahan reported Officer Kendle has completed academy training and is now a fully certified police officer, and has also completed the Field Training Evaluation Program and is now eligible to patrol under solo status.
City Administrator Report – City Administrator Josette Mitchell told the Council security fencing has been installed around the Greenman Field Grandstands, and that former City Councilor J. R. Allen would be assisting with the demolition project by bringing and operating a grade-all to support the roof while scaffolding is removed. Mitchell said the Vernonia High School “Fighting Logger” logo will be cut out and salvaged from the structure prior to the removal of the scaffolding.
Mitchell reported the Vernonia Lake Restroom Restoration project is progressing, with new floor coating installed. New partitions will be installed, along with new paper towel dispensers, toilet paper holders, and toilets, with a goal of re-opening the restrooms by May 26.
Topics From the Floor – John Roady addressed the Council concerning ethics and accountability in a complaint his daughter filed regarding behavior by City Administrator Josette Mitchell at a youth basketball game. Roady gave his account of what happened during the incident and criticized the behavior of Mitchell, which he termed inappropriate. Roady said the City Council met in Executive Session and agreed to enter into an investigation by an outside agency. Roady said the investigation was “halfhearted” and that he disagreed with the findings. He suggested that Mitchell should apologize for her behavior. Mayor Rick Hobart addressed Roady’s comments and said the investigation did not substantiate the allegations and the incident had no bearing on the City Administrator’s employment with the City of Vernonia. He added that it was inappropriate for the Council to further discuss the incident during Open Session.