Forest Grove paid former police chief Janie Schutz to retire
The city of Forest Grove agreed to pay $75,000 to Janie Schutz when she retired as police chief last month, according to city records released Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Schutz officially retired from the department on Jan. 9. At the time, Schutz said in an interview that she hadn't intended to retire but was "pushed" into retirement.
The city conducted an internal investigation into Schutz late last year. City officials have declined to answer questions or release records related to that probe.
In signing the separation agreement, Schutz agreed to give up her right to sue the city or claim any further compensation, according to the document.
Forest Grove city officials on Tuesday declined to immediately respond to questions about the circumstances that led to Schutz's retirement, a pattern that has persisted for weeks since Schutz left the department.
The city initially refused to make public a copy of the agreement after the News-Times submitted a request for the document on Jan. 22.
City Manager Jesse VanderZanden said in an email the city subsequently decided to make the document public based on legal advice.
Schutz's attorney didn't immediately respond to a Tuesday morning email requesting comment on the release of Schutz's retirement agreement.
VanderZanden declined to respond when asked why the language preventing Schutz from suing the city was necessary.
The money provided to Schutz in the retirement package accounts for about six months of her former salary and health benefits, according to a statement from the city.
"This amount is not out of the ordinary for a police chief and allows the parties to look towards the future rather than the past," the statement read. "In entering into this agreement, it was the city's goal to ensure a smooth transition that will allow the police department to focus on moving forward and serving the individuals who live, work and play here, rather than debating issues of the past. The City thanks former Chief Janie Schutz for her dedication and hard work and wishes her well in her future endeavors."
VanderZanden pointed to a survey of employees under Schutz when asked about what issues of the past the city's statement referred to, but he did not provide additional details.
The results of the survey, which was conducted last year, showed that police department employees had broadly negative views of the leadership at the department. The survey was available for employees to respond during a three-week period in September and October.
More than half of the 29 respondents to the survey responded negatively when asked if their workload was reasonable, whether or not they felt safe to challenge the way things were done in the department, and whether senior leaders value ideas from employees.
More than 60% of respondents responded negatively when asked if the department was managed well as a whole.
Last week, the city announced it appointed former Hillsboro Police Lt. Henry Reimann as interim chief. Reimann started work Monday, Feb. 3.
Capt. Mike Hall, a spokesman for the Forest Grove Police Department, said Tuesday that he and other leaders in the department and at the city haven't yet discussed the results of the employee survey at length. He said department and city leaders will discuss the survey and the direction of the department once Reimann has settled into his new position, Hall said.
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