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District Attorney Confirms Ex-Newberg City Manager Investigated for Sexual Harassment Prior to His Termination

Yamhill County District Attorney office has confirmed the existence of a sexual harassment investigation against former Newberg City Manager Dan Weinheimer prior to his termination and acceptance of over $230,000 in severance.

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As previously reported in the Advocate article, Newberg City Council Approves Hefty Severance Agreement to Former City Manager, Obligating Him To “Release Claims”, former City Manager Dan Weinheimer received a large severance package approved by Newberg City Council that awarded him over $235,500 in compensation. In statements to the press, the City framed Weinheimer’s leave as a “resignation” but on November 19th I published the article, Newly Released Documents Imply Ex-Newberg City Manager Was Asked to Resign by City Council which showed evidence that Weinheimer was actually fired by City Council and he did not willingly resign.

I should note that with the exception of Councilor Mike McBride, all other City of Newberg Council members voted to provide the severance payment to Weinheimer.

After his termination, Weinheimer is now employed by the City of Beaverton as Interim Manager.

I have now obtained more information that I believe reveals the reason why City Council members fired Weinheimer and gave him this huge payday.

Dan Weinheimer Sexual Harassment Investigation

Several months ago a source provided information to the Advocate that prior to Dan Weinheimer’s termination as City Manager, Economic Health Manager Shannon Buckmaster had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Weinheimer. The complaint was investigated by Anne Denecke of Denecke Employment Law and a report was produced that was provided to the City of Newberg. According to the source this report was read by Councilors prior to the decision to terminate Weinheimer’s employment as City Manager, as well as several other City employees.

Considering this and the other public information the City released in the events leading up to Weinheimer’s termination, it appears to me that the City of Newberg sought to cover up a scandal by giving the public the impression that Weinheimer resigned voluntarily — in fact, Weinheimer himself went as far as giving statements to press such as the Newberg Graphic implying his resignation was voluntary; an example is the October 26th, 2021 article Newberg city manager resigns written by Gary Allen. In the article Allen wrote,

“On Oct. 25, Dan Weinheimer announced to the City Council that he would resign his post on Friday. He served in the position for 20 months after being swore in on Feb. 24, 2020.

“It was time for the next person to step in and guide the city,” he said in an email interview.”

These kinds of public statements implied Weinheimer was resigning of his own volition, but as I reported in my November 19th article, per his employment contract the only way in which Weinheimer would be eligible to receive severance pay is if he was fired by the City and if he voluntarily resigned he would not be entitled to severance pay.

The Contents of the Sexual Harassment Investigation Report

Two sources have provided some information about the contents of the report. I should note that I have not personally read the report, as the City has refused to release the report to my public records request by claiming it is “client-attorney privilege”. I appealed their rejection of my request to the Yamhill County District Attorney, as I believe the City is attempting to use the confidentiality agreement Mayor Rick Rogers entered into with Dan Weinheimer to suppress the truth about why he was terminated. I also believe the confidentiality agreement is illegal in the first place, given the City is a municipal corporation, not a private one, and cities cannot hide this kind of information about the public business from the public, especially when it involves giving away $235,500 of the public’s money in a situation where, per all the information I currently possess about the topic, indicates the motive for City Council members to fire him is because he was accused of sexually harassing City employees. In the State of Oregon sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and harassment that is outlawed, and grounds for a termination that would in normal circumstances not provide a severance payment.

While the County District Attorney office has determined the report meets the definitions of client-attorney privilege, they did confirm the report against Dan Weinheimer does in fact exist and is in the City’s possession. You can read the District Attorney’s statement confirming this by clicking here.

According to a source I consider reliable, the report produced by Anne Denecke states that Dan Weinheimer admitted to the interactions which he was accused of by Shannon Buckmaster. At this time I do not know the precise nature of the behavior and/or conduct of Weinheimer that was claimed by Buckmaster to be sexual harassment.

I have been provided further information about the events surrounding the report by other sources, but some of this information I have not been able to confirm and so at this time I am withholding the publication of these rumors until I can find more concrete evidence to support them.

My Conclusion

All of the information I currently possess leads me to conclude that — with the exception of Mike McBride — City Council members decided to fire Dan Weinheimer as a result of the allegations of sexual harassment, but that these members also wanted to cover up the scandal. Instead of terminating his employment agreement for cause, publicly the City cited no specific reason for the termination and provided Weinheimer over $235,000 of local tax payer’s money as a severance payment. Mayor Rick Rogers then signed a confidentiality agreement with Weinheimer as a way of trying to avoid the public release of the sexual harassment investigation details, with the goal of obstructing the release of the information through public records request, such as the one I have filed.

Only Councilor Mike McBride abstained from the City Council vote on this decision, as he stated during the public meeting that he was not part of the drafting of the contract terms with Weinheimer and would not have agreed to them.

The truth always has a way of coming out. I am determined to discover the full truth about this situation and will continue to investigate it. Anyone with additional information or tips regarding this can email me at yamhilladvocate@gmail.com

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Carey Martell
Carey Martellhttps://www.yamhilladvocate.com
Publisher and editor for Yamhill Advocate. Digital media entrepreneur. Born and raised in Newberg, Oregon. US Army Veteran.
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James Russell

Great reporting. Getting rid of Weinheimer also set the stage for another of Rick Rogers toadies, Will Worthy, to take over as temporary City Manager. And I expect Worthey will be chosen to replace Weinheimer as the actual City Manager even though Worthey does not meet the minimum requirements of the job listing. This is Mayor Rick strengthening his grip on Newberg.

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