City & Government, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Public Safety & Health

Wooten back; SLFD board meets after 3-month break

Photo from 2019.

COTTAGE GROVE – The South Lane Fire District board of directors met last Thursday, Sept. 17, for the first time since mid-June, with Chief John Wooten in attendance, who said that he’s been medically cleared to return to limited duty. 

The board also handled a contractual item, made personnel moves, and voted to change how it announces public meetings.

It was the first meeting for the board since June 18, when it reinstated Wooten, without discipline, for content on his social media pages that advocated violence against protestors and disparaged Gov. Kate Brown with offensive language.

During the Sept. 17 meeting, Wooten said the board should reconsider how it notifies the public for meetings. He added that press deadlines were an issue for notifying in a timely manner. 

The Chronicle has not turned down any meeting notifications due to press deadlines.

Later, in an email to The Chronicle on Monday, Sept. 21, he wrote, “The Board is updating a policy to reflect the true intent of ORS 192.640. The update is being done to no longer reflect print media as the sole source of Public Notification.”

Also on Sept. 17, the board approved the contract for the department’s training and practice yard updates, which included an additional $3,011 in charges for gravel and asphalt. Board member Dan Duffy questioned the cost, and if the contractor had accepted the bid, then charged more money. Wooten said that “loose language” in the contract allowed for the discrepancy and that in the future this would be “tightened up.” 

The board also took several actions regarding its members. Cheryl Shannon was elected president, Dan Duffy was elected vice president, and Monroe was reelected secretary/treasurer. 

Higdon, the outgoing president who remains on the board, declined the nomination for secretary/treasurer.

The Board voted to formally accept the resignation of former board vice president and member position #4, Jennifer Radcliffe.

She resigned immediately after the June 18 meeting when the board voted 3-2 to reinstate Wooten without discipline.

Board members delayed filling one vacancy.



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