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A lost court case and the results of an internal investigation indicate issues in city government

Chaos, turmoil, harassment and discrimination are not words we ever want used to describe an organization. These are definitely not words we want used to characterize operations at the city of Newberg.

However, as you may have read here in the pages of our hometown newspaper and others, a lost court case and the results of an internal investigation have resulted in these headline descriptors.

While these words may be deserved given recent news, the words do not characterize the entirety of the city. At very most, the words describe a very small fraction of staff.

The overwhelming majority of city employees are dedicated public servants who go to work every day to make sure your water turns on, your toilets flush and your roads are passable. Many put on a uniform every day and serve to keep you safe. Others arrive at city hall with the intent of planning for the community's future or safeguarding the money entrusted to us.

Of the city's 130 employees, very few can be accurately described as being in chaos or turmoil. Most care about their jobs and are largely untouched by the infighting at the top of the organizational chart. This is not to say employees have not been affected by the stress. Talented workers have left because of their discomfort with the workplace environment. This simply needs to stop. We cannot lose another talented worker.

We are not a community based in harassment and discrimination. This is a caring, welcoming and inviting place and our city government must reflect these values. There is no place here for exclusion or fighting.

The city council and interim city manager are painfully aware of the need to address the issues seen in the news. While we have not moved as fast as some might like, the issues are not simple or easily resolved.

When dealing with legal or personnel matters an organization must move with clear direction and purpose. There can be no rush to judgement or action simply for the sake of action.

This having been said, please know the city council and the interim city manager are working diligently to solve the issues described. We all know, as an organization, we simply must do better.

At the same time headlines have described our disfunction, we are looking for a new leader. We sincerely hope applicants for the permanent city manager job see Newberg for what we know it is: a place of opportunity, a community with potential and a community that truly cares. The application deadline is Nov. 24.

I would like to think that we have reached a place where we can say goodbye to the turmoil that has characterized the city of Newberg over the past few years. The proverbial dirty laundry has been aired and now it is time to do the wash.

I can promise this: this city council and city manager will work to ensure the words chaos, turmoil, discrimination and harassment are never again used to describe the city of Newberg; resolve the lingering personnel issues and get you the best possible candidate for the city's top job.

City staff and the residents of this community deserve the very best. We simply must do better.

Rick Roger is mayor of Newberg


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