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Letter: Dan Holladay's actions during COVID-19 pandemic not only illegal, but also done without the approval of the City Commission

I served a total of 16 years on Oregon City's City Commission, the last four as mayor. From 1999 through 2002, Dan Holladay, the current mayor, and I served together as city commissioners. I am supporting the recall of Dan Holladay.

Doug NeeleyOregon City, like the vast majority of cities in Oregon, has what is referred to as a "weak-mayor system." The only chartered powers of the Oregon City mayor are the setting of the order of the commission's meeting agendas and appointing members to advisory committees. He has no power to make other decisions unless supported by at least two of the four other members of the commission. Further, the city manager, who is hired by the City Commission, is responsible for the city's staff, not the City Commission itself.

Mayor Holladay's attempt to seek support from other city mayors for individual jurisdictional rules to phase down the state-mandated lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic was not only illegal but was done without the approval of the City Commission. Whether or not citizens of Oregon City thought his position was correct, he should have taken the issue to the City Commission, and, if it agreed, then checked into the ramification of their decision. Based on his 10 years serving on the City Commission, he knew this would have been the appropriate action.

At a City Commission meeting, one of the commissioners asked a question of the city manager; the mayor insisted that he, not the city manager, answer the question. This was not in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order under which the City Commission operates. Dan Holladay's giving directions to city staff instead of the city manager and his ending the required taping of a commission meeting are also powers that the mayor does not have. In his time as mayor, Dan Holladay has publically chastised citizens, elected officials and the city's Planning Commission. Dan Holladay's use of social media to inflame members of the public runs contrary to the expectations of a mayor.

The position of a mayor should be to facilitate public dialogue and to create an atmosphere where goals and policies can be discussed, debated and formulated through a respectful dialogue among the commission members with input from the public and city staff. His actions have run contrary to these expectations.

When he was a commissioner, his personality was extremely abrasive. When he ran for and won the mayor's position in 2014, he indicated he had changed, and based on the mayoral debate, I decided to endorse him. By the end of his first term, it was clear his personality has become more abrasive and has become worse in his second term. This is evident by all four of the city commissioners giving him a vote of no confidence. It is time to replace Dan Holladay as mayor.

Doug Neeley was elected as mayor of Oregon City in 2010 and served in the position through the end of 2014. He continues to volunteer on city advisory boards.


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