Husseman walks out of Council meeting

 A resolution authorizing Keizer City Manager Adam Brown to enter into a construction contract with a company owned by City Councilor Kyle Juran, led to the walk out by fellow Councilor Robert Husseman. 

The project calls for the repair of the wood trellises over the city hall employee and the police department break area patios. 

The existing wood trellis structures are rotting and need to be repaired or removed. The repair project will replace all exposed wood on the trellises with steel. 

No bids were received through the original Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Keizer city staff then contacted local contractors in an effort to find a company willing to perform the work. Public Works Director Bill Lawyer contacted Remodeling by Classic Homes Inc. which was the only contractor that showed interest in the project and submitted a bid of $246,944. 

After a motion was made, Councilor Juran recused himself from any discussions of the matter and said he would not be voting due to a pecuniary conflict of interest. 

During discussion Councilor Husseman addressed Lawyer, saying, “I can’t in good conscience vote on this. This to me, is a breach of ethics, to ask the council to personally enrich a sitting member of the city council. I do not think this is acceptable behavior and I can’t endorse this.” At that Husseman gathered his belongings and walked out of the meeting. 

With his absence the council voted 4-1 to approve the resolution. Councilor Soraida Cross was the lone vote; Juran abstained and Husseman was absent. 

In remarks the next day Councilor Juran said that Husseman didn’t know what he was talking about. Remodeling by Classic Homes was asked to submit a bid by the city after no other bids were submitted. 

In other council business: 

• Salem-Keizer School Board director Satya Chandragiri, a licensed psychiatrist at Oregon State Hospital, was invited to speak before the council about mental health and suicide prevention. He called on the city to implement gatekeeper training for the councilors and city staff to recognize the signs of a suicidal person and how to access recources; 

• Derek Bish and Marylyn Wood were approved as members of the Keizer Public Arts Commission; Katherine Klein was approved as youth liaison to the same body while Angelica Sarimiento was approved as youth liaison to the Keizer Planning Commission. She served as youth liaison to the city council until recently; 

• In public comments Carol Doerfler returned to the council implore the city to lower the speed limit on Verda Lane between Dearborn Avenue and Chemawa Roads, in face of the addition of hundreds of apartment units on Verda; 

• Approved certification of lighting district assessments for 2023-24; 

• Approved an ordinance prohibiting camping on sidewalks, public property and public rights-of-way. The vote was 6-1 with Cross the lone no vote; 

• Approved an ordinance, 7-0, regulating dogs at large. The ordinance calls for fines ranging from $100 to $500 to owners of dogs without leases with a few exceptions. 

• Authorized the city manager and Police Chief John Teague to sign the 2023-2026 collective bargaining agreement with the Keizer Police Association. The agreement will add $375,000 in compensation costs over the recently adopted 2023-24 city budget. 

• Staff reports included City Recorder Tracy Davis thanking the council, city staff and the community for more than 30 years of her satisfying career, which ends next month with her retirement. 

Adam Brown announced that Dawn Wilson of the city’s finance department had been hired as the new deputy city recorder to succeed Debbie Lockhart, who is also retiring.