Vale council schedules special meeting concerning city manager

VALE – The Vale City Council has called a special closed-door meeting for Thursday evening to discuss the fate of its recently-hired city manager, Alan Daniels.

The city announced the executive session would be held to discuss personnel matters. The public isn’t allowed to attend such sessions.

Mayor Mike McLaughlin couldn’t be reached for comment but others said Daniels’ performance will be under review.

He was offered the position in a unanimous council vote Dec. 18 at a salary of $72,000. He started Jan. 8, succeeding Lynn Findley.

Daniels came to the Vale position after five years with the city of Ontario as airport manager and in the public works department. He then worked for the state Department of Environmental Quality.

“He is taking actions without council approval that need to be discussed,” said Councilman Monty Bixby. “I cannot say anything more about it at this time.”

Daniels told the Malheur Enterprise Wednesday that he has observed city operations in his two months on the job. He acknowledged concerns about the resignation of a city public works employee, but said that had nothing to do his tenure as city manager.

“He has planned on moving onto a ranch for years,” said Daniels.

Councilmen also were concerned about the recent job posting to replace that person, carrying a salary about $10,000 than the current job. Those contacted said the council hadn’t been told of the salary change.

Daniels said he has heard concerns from councilmen about Vale’s new water system. According to Daniels, no city employee has the qualifications to oversee the facility.

As a result, he said, he contacted CH2M, the private company currently acting as public works services for the city of Ontario. He said he only inquired whether the company could help in Vale, but no contract has been offered.

“There is a lot of innuendo and stories that need to be cleared up,” said Councilman Matthew Whitaker. “Speaking for myself, I need some clarification on some things.”

“This is a personnel issue and I cannot discuss it at this time,” said Councilman Brad Williams.

John L. Braese: [email protected]; 541-473-3377.