Recent terminations in Oakridge have some wondering if it’s even legal

Oakridge embroiled in controversy started the first city council meeting for Oakridge in January of 2019, with Mayor Kathy Holston speaking of holding no grudges, and letting the past stay in the past, evidently that is not to be the case.

I spoke with a few of the recently let go Oakridge Fire Department Volunteers who said they were let go for inadequately attending training. Each person I spoke with said the same thing, they felt that they were let go because they do not agree with the Contractor for Oakridge Fire Department Michael Hansen, some even citing that it was political revenge for them being friends with Councilor Chrissy Hollett.

With letters going out to at least five Oakridge Reserve Fire Personnel, Hansen LLC signed letters as Interim Fire Chief, even though he is not, raising even more legal questions. The Oakridge City Charter also does not allow the contractor to terminate employment of volunteers. This comes just one day after Interim City Administrator Messina goes on vacation, the timing looks suspicious. In looking at the contract of Michael V. Hansen LLC and the City of Oakridge, it allows for the consultant to recommend termination of employees to the City Administrator, unknown if this could legally be done by guidance from an Interim.

There is still argument from many in Oakridge that Michael V. Hansen LLC was illegally hired by then City Administrator Louis Gomez, some citing that Gomez not only did not have the authority to hire the contract without the city council, but that he did not have authority to renew the contract under that same authority. Gomez cited that he had received clearance from the Oakridge City Attorney to go ahead with the contract.

The City of Oakridge is seeking a new city attorney, at least one current councilor citing this as a reason for needing a new attorney. Gomez, whose contract with the city was terminated as of 01/01/2019, is under DOJ ethics investigations for receiving money from Michael V. Hansen through his own LLC, and then subsequently renewing the Michael V. Hansen LLC contract after receiving the money. 

Photo curtesy of Oakridge Fire and EMS Facebook page.

Written by Stephan B

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