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Gladstone City Council this week decided not to reprimand Councilor Neal Reisner for his opposition to a meeting in which only three city councilors helped interview a controversial candidate for assistant city administrator.

As the Newberg Graphic reported, former city manager Jacque Betz not only is known for the controversy that blew up in the summer of 2015, when the city’s police chief was removed from his post, but also wholesale changes from the beginning of her tenure creating a management style at odds with the City Council.

PHOTO BY RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - From left, Councilor Linda Neace, Councilor Kim Sieckmann, Councilor Steve Johnson and Mayor Tom Mersereau at a recent meeting of the Gladstone City Council.Reisner apologized for assuming, in initial statements, that a couple of city councilors shared his concerns. After other city councilors on May 10 began a formal process to reprimand him, on May 24 he pointed out that he couldn’t have broken executive-session rules, however, over a meeting that was in no way an executive session.

“It should have been more open,” Councilor Kevin Johnson said, saying he understood Reisner’s opposition to the manner in which the meeting was held but he did not believe anything wrong had occurred.

Councilor Linda Neace said she didn’t want to publicly reprimand Reisner, saying she also understood his concerns about the meeting and hoped the incident would lead to better relations among councilors.

“I thought we ought to be a little more transparent and open it up,” Neace said. “I’d like to see us be a team and working together.”

Council relations may remain strained, however. In a speech on May 10, Mayor Tom Mersereau had blamed Reisner for the recent resignation of a Gladstone mayor and city councilor. Dominick Jacobellis and Susan Turner said they had resigned because they could not commit the time necessary for public service, and Mersereau did not pursue the matter further in his public statements about Reisner on May 24.

Mersereau was not alone in taking an alternate view of the meeting with Betz. Councilor Steve Johnson said he “would do exactly the same thing if asked” and still believes in the concept of a confidential hiring process.

“It’s not like there was something sensational going on, and when our city administrator asked me if I would be interested in meeting with a potential new hire, I said yes, I’d be happy to help out,” he said.

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