City administrator under fire in wake of firing, wage cuts

To the editor:

After the sudden firing of Dan Brown, it makes you wonder just “who” is running the city of Woodburn. The alleged clash of management and leadership styles is an issue between the city and Mr. Brown. But the statement by Mr. Derickson has me worried. According to the Sept. 4 article, “Woodburn Public Works director fired without cause,” Mr. Derickson said, ‘I can’t take the city in the direction I want to go with you as Public Works director.’

It is very disturbing to me that we have a city administrator who has his own “road map” and is determined to take the city in the direction of his own choosing. If that be the case then we don’t need a city council and they all should just resign. Mr. Derickson seems to do whatever he wants to do anyway so we wouldn’t miss the council. Or, is it time for Mr. Derickson to go?

In my opinion, he runs his office with a bunker mentality. Just try and make an appointment to meet with him. Perhaps other folks have had better luck, but from my own experience, I tried to make an appointment twice and each time I was told Mr. Derickson is very busy and please leave a note as to the purpose of my request.

Six city employees had a very severe reduction in their wages and one city official said the wage level is in line with the market and above the minimum wage. Is minimum wage now the benchmark for the city? Just ask yourself what you would think if you went to work and the boss said, ‘sorry we are cutting your wages 40 percent, take it or leave it.’ Or the boss said, ‘we have a difference in management style, so long and good luck.’

Mr. Derickson talks about the need for large budget cuts, but I noticed that he didn’t take any cuts in wages and I suppose he received an increase.

Of course I may be wrong because the budget document is so hard to understand. Maybe Mr. Derickson will feel generous enough to invite those six employees that had their wages severely reduced to his home for dinner on occasion so they can make that painful transition to poverty a little easier.

Terry L. Will


Mall management should reconsider Extravaganza event

To the editor:

Rumor has it that the new owners of Woodburn Outlet Stores will be discontinuing two traditions that were favorites of many people, nearby as well as farther away.

I am referring to an event called "The Extravaganza" held during the Christmas shopping season and The Santa House where children stood in line waiting to share their secret wishes with the man in red!

My hope is that the management will reconsider these decisions.

Carol Wellington


New salaries close to minimum wage

To the editor:

I read the article in the Sept. 11 newspaper about the six employees that will be taking a reduction in pay of 31 percent to 42 percent (“Salaries cut, but city employees keep their jobs”).

How many working employees would agree to take this reduction in pay and be able to pay their monthly payments for housing, food and other items?

Did the city administrator and other staff take a reduction in pay?

The city hires Jason Horton and where did the city get the money to pay his wages and benefits?

Maybe the city would put the salaries and benefits of the department heads in the Woodburn Independent and this would let everyone know what the staff makes. Also, report the amount of deferred compensation or extra pay each one receives.

I decided to look at the reduction of pay and cost out the amount each pay grade would take by the hour, day, week and year. For example, if an employee was making $17.61 and reduced to $11.54 that would be a loss of $6.07 per hour, $48.56 per day, or $12,625.60 per year.

If the city needed to cut expenses, why did only six employees have a wage reduction?

How about a reduction in wages for the city staff that makes the most money?

If I was a city worker, I would wonder if I would be next to hear those words – we will contract out your job if you do not take a wage reduction.

To tell employees that we will contract your jobs if you do not agree to wage reductions is outrageous. In the article Horton made a statement that the new salaries are more in line with market rates, but still above the minimum wage rate. Does the city have a goal of reducing wages to the minimum wage rate?

The city council should vote to keep these employees at their current wage rate with no cut on Oct. 1.

Gary D. Will


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