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North Plains won't renew police chief's contract

Bill Snyder plans to sue over alleged conspiracy after five years as city's top cop

Two months after North Plains Police Chief Bill Snyder made clear his intent to sue the city, City Manager Blake Boyles announced his plans not to renew Snyder’s contract.

On Jan. 14, Snyder and his attorney, Sean Riddell, gave notice to Boyles and North Plains city attorney Heather Martin of their “intent to seek monetary and injunctive relief” as a result of an alleged conspiracy by Boyles and city councilor Scott Whitehead — who used to be the city’s police chief — “to violate [Snyder’s] due process rights and committing numerous other unlawful acts.”

Boyles informed Snyder March 14 that after his contract expires on June 30 he’ll be out of a job.

“The city is looking toward a different management strategy — more of a community-oriented structure,” Boyles said Tuesday.

While Snyder’s tort claim, a placeholder for a potential future lawsuit, doesn’t specifically explain what Boyles’ and Whitehead’s violations or other acts are, it did include three records requests which appear to target email and text message exchanges between Whitehead and Boyles dating as far back as December 2008, when Boyles was the city’s public works director.

Neither Snyder nor Riddell responded to requests for comment, and Whitehead only said he would not comment on the situation until July 1, a day after Snyder’s contract expires.

Currently, Snyder is on paid sick leave, which puts Officer Jesse Baker in position to handle chief responsibilities.

According to Boyles, Baker is expected to attend the supervisory leadership academy at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Training in Salem in August.

That training will provide the certifications necessary for Baker to hold the chief position.

While the news not to renew Snyder’s contract follows the tort claim two months to the day, Boyles said it comes as a result of an assessment of Snyder’s position that began last July.

Whitehead was elected to the council in 2014, four years after an internal investigation led to his abrupt resignation as police chief in May 2010 — which resulted in Snyder’s hiring as chief in January 2011 after 11 years with the Hillsboro Police Department.

Boyles took over as city manager May 2015, following the council’s decision not to renew former City Manager Martha DeBry’s contract.