By Don Iler • News Editor • 

No answers as Betz remains on leave


NEWBERG — Embattled Newberg City Manager Jacque Betz, hired from outside just over a year ago, will remain on paid administrative leave for the foreseeable future. 

Mayor Bob Andrews said he will recommend to the council at its next meeting, set for Monday, Aug. 17, "to authorize a complete, objective examination of these issues that have been raised." He said he would recommend to the council that Betz be kept on leave until that examination is completed. 

The announcement came at a Wednesday morning press conference that shed no light otherwise on the ongoing scandal at city hall.

The chain of events began on Wednesday, July 15, when Betz placed Police Chief Brian Casey on paid administrative leave, pending completion of an outside assessment of department operations. The impetus for that action has yet to be divulged, but it triggered a swift series of counteractions.

On Sunday, July 19, District Attorney Brad Berry asked the Oregon State Police to conduct a criminal investigation into Betz's suspension of Casey, a lifelong Newberg resident and longtime Newberg chief. Meeting in special session the next morning, the council suspended Betz and named City Attorney Truman Stone, who had been assisting Betz with the police department probe, acting manager. 

Within days, the council replaced Stone with Terry Mahr, who had served as city attorney for many years previously. Mahr moved almost immediately to reinstate Casey, and the council opted to replace the law enforcement expert initially assigned to conduct the police departmental assessment.

When Betz was subsequently cleared of any criminal misconduct, the council concluded scheduling issues would prevent it from considering her status before its next regular meeting of Aug. 17.

The state police have yet to release the report they compiled, despite requests filed under Oregon's public records law by an array of parties, including the News-Register.

But late Monday evening, the document that triggered Berry's call for a criminal probe surfaced in the media. It was prepared by Capt. Jeff Kosmicki with the knowledge of his partner at the top of Casey's command team, Capt. Chris Bolek.

The Kosmicki report was based on four anonymous complaints he solicited from line officers. In the complaints, the officers cited locker room and stationhouse conversations indicating Betz may have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with Jeremy Fair, described by them as a "disgruntled officer."

According to the reports, Fair may have consumed alcohol with Betz at her apartment one night several months ago, following a police ride-along, and he may have taken the opportunity to raise complaints with Betz instead of submitting them through the chain of command. They said the buzz at the station was that Fair and Betz were having a relationship, and speculated that Betz might have placed Casey on leave to prevent him from "upholding standards and maintaining accountability concerning Officer Fair."

While it is remains unclear whether Fair and Betz did indeed have a relationship, or to what extent, duration and effect, Mahr acknowledged at the Wednesday morning press conference, " It is not in direct violation of any of our policies to have a relationship."

The report Kosmiciki compiled for Berry indicates concern had arisen in the department with the person tapped by Betz to conduct the departmental assessment, retired Department of Justice veteran Bill Carroll.

Betz tapped Carroll in consultation with Stone and the city's insurance carrier. But Kosmicki said his focus on alleged morale problems quickly came to rankle command and line officers.

Kosmicki said Carroll asked him if he was aware of any inappropriate activity going on in the department. He said he refused to answer that question, along with others Caroll posed, and Carroll responded by suggesting he was not being very cooperative.

Carroll, who could not be reached for comment, was subsequently replaced by Portland labor lawyer Todd Lyon. At the press conference, Mahr explained the decision by saying, "There were some concerns about that person."

Asked what prompted Betz to seek an outside review of police department operations in the first place, Mahr told the press, "The city manager launched the assessment based on certain personnel concerns. We don't really know what those personnel concerns were, because, of course, they are confidential."

Council President Denise Bacon said the council was still in discovery mode itself.

She said she and her fellow councilors had not seen Kosmicki's report when they decided to Betz on leave. She indicated they were merely reacting to word that she had come under criminal investigation.

Prior to placing Betz on leave, the council had prepared a highly favorable review of her performance. It had been planning to reward her with a 25 percent pay hike.

Betz said she had planned to inform the council about her decision, and the reasoning behind it, at a meeting set for the evening of Monday, July 20, but her suspension thwarted that.

At the meeting, the council faced a crowd full of Casey friends, relatives and supporters, who demanded his reinstatement.

As it stands, the council is next scheduled to meet the evening of Aug. 17. 




if she was having an affair with an officer she needs to GO!


So does he.