Communities, Front Page, Oakridge/Westfir, Uncategorized

Commentary: Mayor Holston resigns after giving State of the City message

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Oakridge City Hall Herald Photo

By GEORGE CUSTER/Interim Editor/The Herald  —  Mayor Kathy Holston presided over last night’s City Council Zoom meeting long enough to get to the agenda item where she would address Council and the meeting’s attendees with her State of the City message. The mayor appeared uncharacteristically tense as she presented her prepared message. Much of her statement was a scathing admonishment of many of the current sitting Council members’ attitudes and behavior. We soon learned why she appeared to be on edge.  She ended her message by announcing her resignation, effective immediately. She’d had enough. And many would wholeheartedly agree with and support her decision.

oakridge mayor kathy holston nichols, kathy holston
Oakridge Mayor Kathy Holston

The embattled mayor had often lectured the council, repeatedly singling out several council members, with charges of suspected collusion, stonewalling, and of using their powers to promote their personal agendas. She also accused several councilors of failing to work with, and harassing, the City Administrator. Recently, a statement was made public by a Councilor insinuating that the current City Administrator, Bryan Cutchen, is untrustworthy. Their continual ‘lack of trust and respect’ led to his submitting a letter of resignation effective at the end of February. He’s had enough, also.

How many more?

Reports of harassment by council members has also extended to the City’s finance director, Eric Kytola. He has also tendered his resignation effective the end of February. His reasons for resigning mirror that of the administrator’s.

As the City’s situation continues to spiral downward, there are many questions that will need to be answered, and soon. There are currently no applicants for the finance director position. Who will write the checks for the City’s employees? How will bills get paid? A City’s finances are a bit more complicated than a one-entry checkbook. One councilor alluded to the possibility of seeking an interim finance director and city administrator from Lane Council of Governments (LCOG). Interim staff come at a very high price. Oakridge still doesn’t have a viable budget going forward. Chaos, such as what Oakridge is currently experiencing, will weigh heavily on the City’s financial and management credibility. It will be interesting to see who is willing to step forward and attempt to right the ship.

A copy of the Mayor’s State of the City address, and her letter of resignation will be printed in The Herald, in full, as soon as it becomes available.

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