Molalla Mayor threatens to oust planning commissioner
A Molalla Planning Commissioner is in danger of being removed from office because she spoke out at a May 3 planning commission meeting, complaining that the commission chair and city manager had withheld information from her and fellow commissioners relating to the city's development code.
On May 4, Molalla's mayor, Jimmy Thompson, informed Cain by email that "members of the planning commission serve at the pleasure of the mayor and may be removed by the mayor with the consent of the council. Your actions at the last Planning Commission meeting demonstrate to me that you are unable to adequately fulfill the duties of your office."
Thompson was not present at the meeting, but said he based his decision on an audio recording.
"I got a phone call immediately after the meeting from the planning commission chair, Botsford, and the city manager Dan Huff complaining about Ms. Cain, so I got a copy of the tape," he said Friday. "If Huff or Botsford have concerns, they are supposed to approach me with them. I made my decision based on the content of the tape. Miss Cain apparently has a misunderstanding about the process. She wanted an opportunity to grandstand."
Thompson said he feels Botsford did the right thing in adjourning the meeting while Cain was speaking. "She shut it down because Cain was out of line," he said.
Thompson admitted that he had not spoken with Cain about the matter. "I sent her an email," he said.
In the email, Thompson accused Cain of derailing planning commission business by speaking about her concerns after being given the floor at the May 3 public meeting.
"Your actions ultimately led to the adjournment of the meeting," he wrote.
He said he will seek the council's consent to remove Cain from office.
An audio recording of the meeting makes it clear that during the planning commission discussion, Cain was repeatedly interrupted by Botsford and City Manager Dan Huff while she was speaking, after being given the floor by Botsford. In his email, however, Thompson accuses Cain of "continually interrupting other speakers."
Thompson wrote that he will seek the council's consent to remove Cain from office at tonight's Molalla City Council meeting (Wednesday, May 10).
He wrote that action would "be taken on my intent to terminate your tenure on the Planning Commission. If you so desire, you may tender your resignation immediately, which will supersede the need for council's discussion of the matter."
Cain's concerns voiced at the May 3 commission meeting were in regard to the city's development code. The city of Molalla, the Oregon TGM and Siegel Planning Services teamed up to re-write the development code for the city of Molalla. A Citizen Code Committee (CCC) is involved in the process.
Cain's complaint at the meeting was that commission chair Rae Lynn Botsford withheld important information regarding changes or suggestions made to the development code during a recent CCC meeting.
Botsford, who is the PC liaison with the CCC, had the opportunity to share that information with the commission at a work session, but did not do so, Cain said. Instead, the updated development code draft was posted on the city of Molalla website, and without the planning commission having a chance to review the suggested changes, Cain told the commission.
"Those suggestions that came in through the CCC never came to us first," Cain stated. "So Draft 2 was released with the CCC changes – the suggestions – without ever coming through us. It's being posted as though I agreed to those things when it came to the commission. I did not."
Cain addressed Botsford directly, saying, "I have a problem and I am going to make it stated on record. I believe you are — there is something happening behind the scenes. You were there. You did not bring it to this commission to let us know what was going on."
Botsford admitted she did not, as liaison, report back to the commission concerning the CCC meeting. "Not required. Wasn't required," she said.
The discussion became heated with Botsford shouting down Cain, while Cain seemed determined to make her point while she still had the floor. After interruptions by City Manager Dan Huff, Cain also told Huff that, as a city manager, he was not supposed to "be discussing or talking unless we have a question for you."
At that point, Botsford shut down the meeting, calling for an adjournment.
"I raised great concern because the planning commission is being subverted and contractual guidelines are not being adhered to," Cain said Friday.
"So many people have been scared by this city, I feel like David – David and Goliath," she said. "You have to be strong and stand up for what is right. But if people think Kowtowing to the city will get them in the city's favor, they are wrong. And as long as Dan Huff and Jimmy Thompson are allowed to continue with these bullying tactics toward people and business owners and legacy families of this town, the peace, harmony and order we seek will ever be fleeting from our grasp."
Attached is a written transcript of the May 3 Molalla Planning Commission meeting:
May 3, 2017
Aldo Rodriquez present
Rachel Cain present
Jim Chapin present
Rae Lynn Botsford present
Dan Huff city manager present
Dan Burke absent
Jamie Hinkel absent
BOTSFORD: Public comment (to public): Anyone want to say anything three minutes allowed. Ok good nuf. We have the minutes to approve from April 5, 2017. Everyone receive the minutes and the email from Aldo? OK I need a motion to approve them.
CAIN: Dan was not present at that meeting.
CAIN: Dan Burke – but he's on here (the minutes)
ALDO: Was he not?
CAIN: And we should probably make mention he is not here today, and neither is Jaime
BOTSFORD: Well, that was the roll call.
CAIN: Well, I think it's because Aldo listens to the recording, and they're not here.
ALDO: What was that?
CAIN: Jaime and Dan Burke, absent.
ALDO: Ok, I'll fix that
BOTSFORD: So can we get a motion to approve that with the amendment?
CHAPIN: I make motion to approve minutes of April 5, with the changes.
CAIN: Jesse and Brandon Buckley spoke at the previous meeting, but are not listed in the minutes. One other thing. Brandon Buckley, he was here, but he was not on our agenda for that meeting. So I just want to make note of that, but he still spoke.
Did you get – I never got from you all his data. So is that posted? And can you
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yea, I did. I think Jesse will get that to me.
JESSE: Yeah, I requested that from, yeah, I guess. I forwarded that request to him.
CAIN: And all his data, all the number crunching he showed on the screen, not just the maps.
JESSE(?): Well, what you will get, and I'll explain that as part of this presentation today, but what we are providing to the city can carry forward
CAIN: Right, but from our last meeting, I want that presentation he showed us, with all the data. So could you please provide that to us within next week?
JESSE(?): I'll try to get them and I can send stuff.
CAIN: Ok that will be great, because it's been over a month now, or at least close to it. Thank you Jesse.
BOTSFORD: We should approve the minutes. Do we have a second?
CAIN: I'll second it.
BOTSFORD: Alright. We have discussion items? There's none on the agenda at the moment. Any information from commissioners - do you have discussions? Jim? Rachel?
CAIN: Yes, I do. I sent you all an email. Aldo put (got cut off)
BOTSFORD: When did you send the email?
CAIN: I sent it earlier today.
It's in regards to draft one we were working on in the work session. Aldo just put up draft 2 on the webpage. And gave it to us. The problem is the CCC – Mr. Avison provided his suggestions to us after the timeframe. Those suggestions that came in through the CCC never came to us first. So draft 2 was released with the CCC changes – the suggestions – without ever coming through us, and when I was looking through them, there are numerous changes to it that are not redlined, probably by, I guess Siegel does that for us? It's just a problem – they are not coming through the process, so when they had their suggestions, it should have come to us. We should have been able to talk to the people who presented it, ask our questions, and then we would do our part, and then those things could have been added, we would do the draft. He put it up, gave it to us without us seeing those things that were - and I understand you were at that meeting.
BOTSFORD mmhmm (yes)
CAIN: So you never told us anything about that when we came to the work session. You never mentioned a thing about any of those things that happened there, and there are significant suggestions that occurred at the meeting.
CAIN: So I asked Aldo in the letter to pull back the draft.
BOTSFORD: It's way past that - people might miss the deadline through the number one. So that's the last time you could do anything then?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. And Bill submitted his comments like after
CAIN: the problem is there's a protocol that is supposed to take place.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. Yeah.
CAIN: It needs to be brought back, put back, so we can look at that and we can decide. I'm not having it go out, because it's going out as though, it's being posted as though I agreed to those things when it came to the commission. I did not.
HUFF: Well, we're not
Cain: It's not about that, it's about the semantics and following the guideline. And the other thing is (cut off)
CAIN: I want to finish. Is that the guideline with regards to the work plan is not being followed. So the suggestions that are being made, it's very disingenuous to the community to say that you are following protocol, and you are not. You are not following the plan that is supposed to happen. I understand you had people quit. I'm not going down that road again. I don't like rehashing stuff. But the bottom line is there are errors. There are changes that occurred in there that were never brought up to us — that I never knew, that other people didn't know — unless you are having conversations on the sidebar somewhere. But I did not not know about those things and I will not sign off on it, and I'm not going to have it go through. I want it pulled back, and I want it taken down off the website
HUFF: Well, let me, can I speak? First of all, you didn't make a decision on anything, and nobody is saying the planning commission is (garbled) because you haven't had a public hearing.
CAIN: We haven't had the opportunity to see what you discussed with the CCC (cut off by Huff)
HUFF: you have not had a public hearing, so that when you say it's out there like I signed off on it, nobody has said that.
CAIN: Dan, I want to interrupt, and just – that's not true. Because you're having CCC meetings that are part of the community – that should be open forum for the public to be notified (interruption) He has not put (interrupted) Let me finish
HUFF: NO, because you're not
CAIN: Please let me finish. We are the commission here, ok? And I need to say what I need to say. You are not putting those meetings up on the calendar. The general population in this city does not know that that meeting took place. Even if they couldn't contribute and just come and listen. They didn't even know it was happening.
HUFF: It was not an open meeting
CAIN: It was a CCC, a citizen code (cut off by HUFF)
HUFF: It was not open to the public
CAIN: It should be, it's a public forum (cut off)
HUFF: That's the way the state of Oregon has told us to do that
CAIN: NO. I asked you to go back and look. Well, you are wrong. Because there are guidelines (cut off)
HUFF: well let me ask you this.
CAIN: I want the draft brought back (cut off)
HUFF: You don't have the ability to tell ME to do this unless this (garbled)
CAIN: Well you know what? There are other ways to go around this to protect the citizens of this community
HUFF: There is, but I don't
CAIN: And it's called 'follow protocol.' I want the draft brought back. I want an opportunity to look at it.
HUFF: This is who you need to talk to (referring to Botsford)
CAIN: Well then,
HUFF: (chuckle) Not me.
CAIN: I have a problem and I am going to make it stated on record (to BOTSFORD) I believe you are — there is something happening behind the scenes. You were there. You did not (got cut off)
BOTSFORD: I was there at the meeting, garbled.
CAIN: You did not bring it to this commission to let us know what was going on.
HUFF: It was not supposed to be
BOTSFORD: Not required. Wasn't required.
CAIN: You were not there to subvert this commission so that it could go across.
BOTSFORD: I was the liaison from this commission.
CAIN: That's right. And you were supposed to bring it back to this commission. That's what a liaison is. I was there when Gerald talked about this. Whoever is appointed as a liaison is supposed to go there, listen, and take copious notes. As I understand, you didn't take any notes. And the bottom line is that when you came back here, you had the opportunity, full opportunity, to share with the rest of us. What happened there (she got cut off)
BOTSFORD: Who said I didn't take any notes. Were you there?
CAIN: And you did not do that (cut off by BOTSFORD)
BOTSFORD: (shouting) What on earth? What is going on here? OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hold up
CAIN: You should have come back to the commission. That's your job. You did not do that (got cut off)
BOTSFORD: Ok we need to stop this right now. This is not a discussion, this is Rachel standing on a soapbox.
CAIN: This is Rachel standing up for the citizens of this community.
BOTSFORD: (Shouting over Cain): You're not following protocol
CAIN: (finishing her sentence) You should have come here (got cut off again)
BOTSFORD (Shouting) don't you tell me what I should have done! Stop right now!
CAIN: If you want to adopt Robert's rules of order (got cut off)
BOTSFORD: Stop right now. Quit the argument right now, or I will adjourn this meeting and we are done.
MAN (CHAPIN?): hold up, hold up, hold up
CAIN: So do that. I will be more than happy to let you adjourn it. I'd rather you adjourn it than we proceed in this manner.
HUFF: Hey, the other thing is, is that the discussion you all are having you (garbled)
MAN (CHAPIN?): What you want to do about it is the question.
HUFF: It didn't get us anywhere, really.
CAIN: Look, the bottom line is (got cut off)
HUFF: You are interrupting me.
CAIN: (To Huff) You are not supposed to be discussing or talking unless we have a question for you. The Bottom line (got cut off)
CAIN: That's the rules (got cut off)
BOTSFORD: So I'm going to call an adjournment. Do I have a motion to adjourn the meeting?
CAIN: Yes, I make a motion to adjourn.
CHAPIN: I second
CAIN: Thank You.
CAIN: (to someone) Please make sure that gets taken down.
CAIN: There will be some ethics violations then.