Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Feb. 2 @ 12:01 p.m. / Local Government, Oregon

Brookings City Council To Discuss City Manager Recruitment, Camping Ordinance at Workshop


Brookings Council Terminates Janell Howard, Appoints Police Chief As Acting City Manager


About three weeks after they fired their city manager, Brookings City Councilors will discuss hiring a recruiting firm to seek her replacement.

At a workshop on Monday, councilors will discuss four proposals they have received. These come from Eugene-based Lane Council of Governments; Prothman, an employment agency based in Issaquah, Washington; WBCP, based in Rogue River; and Colorado Springs-based Columbia ltd.

According to the city’s staff report, LCOG is offering its services for $14,500 plus lodging expenses. Prothman’s proposal was for $16,500 with $7,020 to $9,190 in expenses; WBCP is offering its services for $26,900 plus a maximum of $6,200 in expenses and Columbia ltd.’s is offering its services for $27,000 with expenses included.

“After reviewing proposals, each company appears to provide substantially the same offering regarding number of meetings, recruitment plans, applicant screening, interviews and hiring timelines,” Brookings’ staff report for Monday’s workshop states. “Each provided a professional consulting services fee and two provided a separate expense fee that varies depending upon the type and number of services requested.”

The City Council unanimously voted to terminate City Manager Janell Howard at a special meeting on Jan. 16. This decision came more than a year after she pleaded no contest to a theft violation in connection with a July 2022 shoplifting incident at Fred Meyer.

Councilors also unanimously appointed Brookings Police Chief Kelby McCrae to step in as acting city manager. At the Council’s regular meeting Jan. 22, Brookings Mayor Isaac Hodges said he believed McCrae was doing an exemplary job. He asked his colleagues to allow McCrae to “feel things out and move forward in our current situation.”

“Right now we have a track we’re on and I personally feel like we can let it roll out for awhile and address issues as they come and give our city manager all the support we can and all the resources we can,” Hodges said.

Hodges’ colleague, Council President Andy Martin, asked if the Council should negotiate a short-term contract with McCrae or consult the city handbook in regards to a staff member being tasked with taking on additional responsibilities.

Martin asked to meet with his colleagues and the city attorney in an executive session to discuss McCrae’s continuing to act as interim city manager. He also asked for an open session after that executive session to update the public on the continued search for recruiting agencies for a permanent city manager.

“This is an above-and-beyond calling that we’ve just put him into and we haven’t really talked about if there’s any additional compensation [for] the workload we put on him of being the interim city manager plus running the police department,” Martin said.

Clayton Malmberg, one of the Council’s newest members who was appointed in December, also called for an executive session with the city attorney. He said in his experience people who are tasked with taking on additional duties usually receive temporary out-of-class assignment compensation, though Councilors should iron out those details.

Also on the agenda for Monday’s City Council workshop is a discussion on a draft camping ordinance. According to the staff report, the Brookings Municipal Code currently prohibits camping in public parks.

Staff and the Brookings city attorney are proposing revising the language to reflect the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings in Martin v. Boise, Blake v. Grants Pass and Johnson v. Grants Pass, which state that enforcing camping restrictions could be a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

The Brookings City Council workshop will be held at 5 p.m. in the Emergency Operations Center, 888 Elk Drive in Brookings. For agenda packets, visit


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