Community development director refused to sign waiver, has found work

FAIRVIEW - Tamara DeRidder, the city's community development director, resigned effective Friday, Sept. 15.

DeRidder was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday, Sept. 5, after receiving verbal and written reprimands.

Fairview City Attorney Paul Elsner said he could not disclose why DeRidder was placed on paid administrative leave, but said it was regarding 'issues involving job performance.'

DeRidder said city officials asked her to sign a letter waiving her right to file suit against the city, but she refused to do so, and instead submitted her own letter of resignation.

Because she did not sign the waiver, DeRidder will forgo the month of severance pay the city offered. However, she said she would still be compensated for her remaining vacation and sick time.

Senior Planner John Gessner will serve as the interim community development director until someone can be hired to fill the position permanently, said Laura Zentner, acting city administrator.

Jan Wellman, Fairview's former administrator, resigned in July after he was placed on paid administrative leave.

'People need to know that staff changes happen and this is unfortunate, but there is no single issue here,' said Mayor Mike Weatherby.

Zentner, the city's finance director, Bob Cochran, the city's public works director, and Ken Johnson, police chief, are acting as the interim administrators.

'Everybody kind of has their plate full,' Weatherby said. 'But our acting administrators are an excellent team, and I have full faith and confidence in them to carry on until we find a full-time administrator.'

Fairview officials are accepting applications for the city administrator position through the League of Oregon Cities.

'I am really pleased with how the city is moving forward,' Weatherby said.

Once the city fills the administrator position, that person will be responsible for hiring a new community development director, Zentner said.

DeRidder has already secured a new position. She has been working with developer Hiroshi Morihara on the Oregon Science and Technology Partnership and hopes to sign a contract as the group's new biofuel coordinator. She also hopes to be hired on as the executive director of the East Metro Economic Alliance.

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