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Sheriff's office investigates Damascus mayor's wife

A Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office investigation has been opened on Cindy Spinnett — wife of Damascus Mayor Steve Spinnett — on allegations that she took photographs of city documents that were not meant for public viewing.

The investigation was opened at City Manager Greg Baker’s urging after he alerted the sheriff’s office to the possible breach of confidential information.

The sheriff’s office is not investigating a specific crime. And the sheriff’s office would not comment on the ongoing investigation.

Baker said three members of his staff approached him and told him Cindy Spinnett had leaned over the tall counter at City Hall and was taking pictures of a sensitive document sitting on the counter below.

Baker said he was obligated by an administrative policy to file the report.

He said the document was a code enforcement document containing Social Security numbers, license numbers and other confidential information.

Baker said he called the mayor to inform him of what was happening.

Spinnett said she went to City Hall to request public records on her house. She said she handed the city employee her request and waited at the counter while he went away to get the documents.

“I was just standing there waiting,” Spinnett said.

She said she glanced around and noticed some papers.

“I wasn’t interested. What they said didn’t register,” she said. “I couldn’t tell you if they said ‘A, B, C.’ I took no photos.”

The incident spilled over into the City Council meeting Monday, Sept. 17.

“No one saw Cindy taking pictures because she didn’t take any,” Mayor Spinnett said during a tense discussion during the council meeting. “Perhaps if city manager Greg Baker was managing instead of spending his time concocting a political smear campaign along with his political cohorts, he would have a trained staff that knew how to better handle sensitive information in a more professional manner.”

During his statement, the mayor put on a pair of sunglasses and said he will wear them every time he goes to City Hall until he feels safe again.

“If you, the Damascus citizens, enter City Hall to conduct public business, you should blindfold yourself,” he said. “Because if the city manager catches a citizen looking at sensitive city documents, he may call the police.”

After the mayor’s statement, Councilor Randy Shannon said he had heard stories of Cindy Spinnett harassing and ordering around city staff in the past.

“Who does she think she is: Mrs. Reagan?” Shannon asked.

Damascus citizen James De Young even went as far as asking for Mayor Spinnett’s removal from office.

In an email, councilor Mary Wescott said, “The staff has been harassed enough by the Spinnetts, and it’s got to stop.”

Baker said he was surprised by the mayor’s outburst.

The mayor said he was “absolutely in line to do that.” He explained his statement was a rebuttal to a work session that took place Thursday, Sept. 20. During the televised meeting, a city councilor asked for a briefing about the report on the mayor’s wife.

“I ask that with the sensitivity of this information it remain in this room,” Baker responded during the work session. “But there was a police report made, so people have access to that.”

The mayor reminded Baker that they were on camera during the session.

Baker said he didn’t realize that and asked that the council hold discussion until the report is completed. He repeated this statement at the City Council meeting Sept. 17.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is not suggesting how the long the investigation will take.