Former Talent manager's deal put on hold

TALENT — Efforts to approve a settlement with former City Manager Jay Henry will have to wait for a third attempt after a special City Council meeting Tuesday failed to draw a quorum.

The Council had approved by a 2-1 margin the settlement at its regular Nov. 16 meeting, only to learn the next day that three affirmative votes were needed under the city charter.

Another special meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, in City Hall to consider the matter.

The Council terminated Henry's three-year employment with the city on June 1. Henry filed a tort claim against the city in July to recover damages. He alleged civil-rights violations and interference with employment and contractual relations.

Under the proposed settlement, Henry would receive $100,000 and release the city from any future actions. Payment would not be considered an admission of wrongdoing or liability by the city.

Councilwomen Teresa Cooke, Kierstin Brown and Diane Glendenning showed up for Tuesday's session.

Councilman Chris Auer had planned to participate via telephone but called 10 minutes before the 6:30 p.m. meeting to say he would be unable to keep the appointment. Without a fourth council member there was no quorum.

Mayor Bill Cecil, who was absent for the Nov. 16 meeting, attended Tuesday's meeting, but the mayor votes only in tie situations.

Councilman Sherman Lamb was away on vacation.

Councilman E.J. McManus did not attend because he is lodged in the Jackson County Work Release Detention Center in Talent for violation of probation stemming from a September conviction for drunk driving.

McManus can go to work but not attend other activities, Interim City Manager Dale Shaddox said.

McManus was stopped about 7 a.m. Nov. 9, by Phoenix Police on South Stage Road near Voorhies Road for speeding. He was jailed at the discretion of his probation officer, said Phoenix Police Chief Derek Bowker. McManus' license had been suspended for a year in September and he was placed on probation for 24 months.

Auer, Cooke, Brown and Glendenning attended the Nov. 16 session. Cooke was elected presiding officer, eliminating her option to vote except in a tie. Brown and Glendenning voted for the settlement, while Auer voted against it.

By the Council's rules of procedure, it appeared the measure had passed. But Henry's attorney, Bob Bluth of Medford, questioned the outcome the following day. Talent City Attorney Kurt Knudsen, who was not at the meeting, affirmed that the charter took precedence over the rules and advised another vote.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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