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West Linn's City Council will decide on a separation agreement at Jan. 6 special meeting

PMG FILE PHOTO - Eileen Stein has been West Linn City Manager since June 2016. The West Linn City Council is expected to cut its ties with City Manager Eileen Stein at a special meeting Monday, Jan. 6.

The agenda for the meeting, posted Jan. 2, states the council will meet in executive session at 5 p.m. "to consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing."

The council will then convene in the special meeting at 5:30 p.m. to decide on the city manager's separation agreement. The council will hear public comment from citizens before voting.

After the decision on the separation agreement, the meeting will shift gears to a work session to discuss GO bond projects and options for an interim city manager.

According to West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod, the special meeting comes at the request of three councilors who wish to terminate the city manager's contract without cause, which the contract allows for. He declined to name which councilors were behind the request.

Axelrod said he was "deeply disappointed" by this decision and noted his concern that it could impact the City for the rest of the year.

Stein came to West Linn in June 2016 following the resignation of longtime City Manager Chris Jordan, who was unpopular with several members of the then-City Council. Prior to her time in West Linn, Stein served as the city manager for the City of Mt. Angel for three years. She also served as the city manager for the City of Sisters for 11 years.

In her time with West Linn, Stein saw the passage of a $20 million GO Bond and helped secure $6 million in funding for a project to improve Highway 43.

Stein's time has not been without its controversies though.

Although she was unanimously appointed by all members of the council in 2016, Stein has often been criticized by Councilors Rich Sakelik, Bill Relyea and Teri Cummings, who came on board after her appointment.

These councilors have primarily faulted the city manager for not properly notifying councilors and the city attorney of an executive session in October 2018, which led to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission finding Axelrod and two former councilors in violation of executive session laws.

A debate over city legal services that started long before Stein came to West Linn has also contributed to the wedge between her and Cummings, Relyea and Sakelik.

"I've enjoyed my employment here," Stein said. "I'm confident that staff will keep up the good work and serve the citizens as they have in a professional manner."

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