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Embattled city manager will resign, receive severance from city

Newberg City Council passes resolution Monday evening ending investigation into allegations against Jacque Betz, accepting her resignation and approving "separation agreement" that pays nearly $97,000

City Manager Jacque Betz will resign from her position within the coming week and will receive nearly $97,000 as part of a settlement, following a unanimous vote by City Council Monday evening to end her employment contract.

The latest chapter in the month-long controversy represents a somewhat sharp turn toward resignation for Betz, who told the Newberg Graphic in early August that she was looking forward to returning to work and explaining to the City Council the motivation behind her recent actions with the police department.€ŽFILE PHOTO - Newberg Mayor Bob Andrews called for a complete investigation into allegations against City Manager Jaque Betz during a press conference (above) held Aug. 5 in the Public Safety Building. On Monday evening he said on advice of counsel and after receiving additional information he would recommend the investigation not go forward and the City Council pass a resolution allowing Betz to resign and pay her severance.

“I really want to return to my job,” Betz said at the time. “I want to go back and conduct business in the city in a professional manner.”

The apparent change of plans came after Mayor Bob Andrews indicated at an Aug. 5 press conference he would recommend leaving Betz on administrative leave while the city carried out an investigation into the allegations made against her.

“Subsequent to that, I received communications from Ms. Betz’s counsel (attorney Judy Snyder), and I’ve also received some personnel communications which lead me to withdraw my previous recommendations,” Andrews said Monday evening.

While Snyder did not respond to multiple requests for comment, the resolution adopted by councilors indicates that “Betz expressed an interest in stepping aside from her position to clear the way for the city to focus on other matters.”

The proposed settlement would also aid in the mutual desire between Betz and the city to “settle all disputes between them relating to Betz’s employment,” meaning the city’s investigation into allegations of misconduct on her part will not go forward and that the city will also be immune from litigation related to her departure.

Betz will be paid severance by the city totaling $58,438, which equals six months of her salary.

In order to ensure all disputes and claims would be released and there would essentially be a clean break, Betz will receive an additional lump sum payment of $35,000. Of that the city will pay $3,000 with Citycounty Insurance Services, the city’s insurance provider, paying the remainder.

Betz will also be paid by the city for six months of health care cost at $3,337, bringing the total paid out to her to just under $97,000.

The vote by the City Council came in a public session after a 5 p.m. executive session that was closed to the public. The media was barred from releasing information about the meeting under state law. It was attended by the full council as well as the city attorney, city manager pro tem, and the city’s outside legal counsel, labor attorney Todd Lyon of Portland.

The primary topic of the executive session was the proposed settlement.

Before voting during the regular session councilors heard brief public testimony on the proposed resignation.

“With all due respect I think the City Council has dropped the ball on this completely,” said resident Michael Gunn in his public comment, explaining that from his perspective as an attorney the city has been on defense for the entirety of the saga. He expressed disappointment that the council would accept Betz’s resignation without getting to the bottom of what actually happened.

“None of you have forced Betz to come in front of you and confront her with these allegations, you haven’t forced (police officer) Jeremy Fair to do this, you haven’t had any of these officers that would have come forward,” Gunn said. “This whole thing is an abomination.”

Betz placed Police Chief Brian Casey on administrative leave last month in order to conduct an assessment of the police department for allegations of excessive use of force, modified police reports, verbal harassment within the department and more. Allegations were then submitted to the Yamhill County district attorney’s office that Betz was romantically involved with Fair and that the relationship was intertwined with the decision to remove Casey. Betz was placed on leave while the Marion County district attorney and the Oregon State Police investigated. Casey was returned to his position and while Betz was cleared of any charges she remained on leave for four weeks until the council accepted her resignation Monday.

City spokesperson Brittney Jeffries stated Betz’s last official day of employment is still being negotiated and that the city will issue a press release mid-week.