(Editor’s note: PDF copies of documents referenced in this story are available at the bottom of this page.)
By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
Councilor David McKane resigned Monday night, citing pressure to change his vote on a 3 percent telecom fee and “recognition that I have little influence regarding council decisions.”
Upon the Keizertimes’ request McKane provided an e-mail exchange between himself and Mayor Lore Christopher. In it, Christopher said she “asked you to speak your mind and then vote with the council and make a statement similar to statements made by Councillor [sic] McGee when he disagreed with a council majority so that the city could move forward.
“You refused, voted in opposition, and gave our oponents [sic] three extra weeks to prepare for battle against our city, costing taxpayers more time and money to fight an overwhelmingly strong majority on the council.
“In my opinion, this was not a leader or a statesman, this was an individual exercising his right to continue to vote against the majority when he knew the outcome. It was a hollow vote.”
The telecom fee proposal was an ordinance, requiring unanimous approval to be passed on first reading. If there is dissent – McKane was the lone ‘no’ vote – it must be passed again on second reading at a future council meeting.
It should be noted McKane told the Keizertimes there is no “bad blood” between himself and the mayor. Likewise, Christopher said there “were no words between us. There’s no anger.”
In his Dec. 23 e-mail to Christopher, McKane shared his “desire and willingness” to serve as council president. According to the city charter, the council president presides over meetings when the mayor is absent, and acts as mayor if he or she is “unable to perform the functions of the office.”
Typically the longest-serving councilor who has not yet been council president is nominated for the position, but the nominee doesn’t always accept and isn’t always chosen, Christopher told the Keizertimes.
In an e-mail reply to McKane, Christopher said she would instead support Cathy Clark, who was sworn in for her second council term the same night McKane resigned.
“I do not believe that you would be able to set aside your personal opinion (or votes) to support the majority of the council on decisions that have been made,” Christopher wrote.
At Monday’s meeting, Councilor Jim Taylor, who was council president, nominated McKane, but he declined. He then nominated Clark, who was unanimously approved to be council president the next two years.
In his resignation letter, McKane said he grew weary of “the constant barrage of being ‘anti-tax’ or ‘anti-parks.’ Recently you stated I am a detriment to the council because of my minority opinions and minority votes.”
The full text of McKane’s letter, along with a copy of the e-mail exchange between McKane and Christopher, are available at the bottom of this story in PDF format.
Christopher told the Keizertimes McKane had said he was growing weary of his role as councilor, and it was taking away family time with his young son.
“We’ve all known that, so in some respects … many councilors thought, at any time, he would do this (resign) over the last year,” Christopher said.
She also gave further explanation on why she preferred Clark over McKane for council president, saying Clark’s home-based tutoring job and adult-aged children left her more time and flexibility.
Christopher said McKane would have difficulty “support(ing) a council decision when he doesn’t agree with it. That’s fine if you’re an individual councilor … (the council president) is the voice of the council. You are not the voice of an individual councilor.
“He can’t acquiesce and say, I lost this vote … I move on,” she added.