As previously reported, tonight Newberg City Council met to discuss the approval of a hefty severance package to former City Manager Dan Weinheimer, who resigned just last week and whose final day with the city was October 29th. The Council voted to approve it.
Anyone who would like to see what happened during the City of Newberg council session that gave over $235,500 to former City Manager Dan Weinheimer can watch the embedded video below, which contains the entire segment of the public session of the meeting. I recorded the meeting and uploaded an edited video to the Yamhill Advocate YouTube channel that combines both public meeting segments together, so that the public can see what transpired during the public portion of the meeting.
The session was performed live over a Zoom conference call, however, the Executive session where City Council discussed their reasons for giving the severance was not disclosed to the public. In fact, as shown in the video, the entire Zoom meeting session was canceled abruptly when this session started.
I did rejoin the Zoom meeting, and waited for the public to be permitted to rejoin and after over 30 minutes, was permitted back inside the Zoom meeting. It seems clear that the deliberation about the agreement and reasons for giving the hefty severance payment were discussed entirely during the private session.
For useful time stamps of important sections of the meeting, at 4:15 of the video, the second half of the meeting starts, where City Council deliberated and voted for the resolution.
At 5:45 in the video, City Attorney James Walker explains the agreement “includes a number of obligations for Mr Weinheimer to cooperate with the city and to release claims“.
The precise nature of the claims that Mr. Weinheimer has and that Mr. Walker was referring to were not mentioned during the public session.
Councilman Mike McBride made a motion during the meeting to state that he was not a participant of the drafting of Mr. Weinheimer’s employment agreement and he would not have agreed to it, so he would abstain his vote.
The other city council members I could see at the session — Elise Yarnell Hollamon, Denise Bacon, Bryce Coefield, Stephanie Findley, and Mayor Rick Rogers — all appeared to vote for the approval of the severance agreement as drafted (Rogers did not say which members voted for it during the meeting to clarify this for the public)
Mayor Rogers stated after the vote that, “I know this is not the way we would have liked to have ended the relationship with Mr. Weinheimer, but we will go forward and many thanks to staff for picking up what will be extra work here in the future including our interim city manager Mr. Will Worthey.”
The meeting was then adjourned.
Will Worthey is currently both Newberg Library Director and Interim City Manager, having been appointed to interim city manager for a period of six months in the October 25th Special Session. During that session, Mr. Worthey was provided by a last minute suggestion by Rick Rogers (time stamp is 19:10) the same salary that Mr. Weinheimer’s contract had. Logically, this means that the City of Newberg is now paying for two City Managers, but only getting one.
After the meeting was over, I spoke with former Newberg City Councilman Roger Currier, who previously served on City Council for sixteen years. Currier provided me with the following statement of his opinion on what transpired during the meeting,
“Tonight, the Newberg City Council had a meeting to vote on a severance package for the City Manager Dan Weinheimer. That package is over $228,000 with a plus of all insurance paid for a year. No reasons have been given for his sudden leave of office. And they also agreed to a sealed agreement for him as well. The problem I have with this meeting and their action is that when I asked how to get a form for the Zoom meeting to participate for public comment, I was told that there will be no public comments.
The Council went into regular meeting and then cancelled out to go to Executive meeting, which of course is off the air. After this, they came back and voted on and approved the entire package.
They never asked for any public comments or read my statement that earlier today I asked to be part of the record. It is totally wrong to vote to give away public money without input.
The last thing Mayor Rick Rogers said in the meeting was that the Public can have input at the next meeting, after they already made the official vote.
I did forewarn them that if they did this I would file a formal complaint against them, but they ignored the warning. City Councils need to be held accountable! I was one for sixteen years, and I never would have agreed to this type of underhanded tactic.”