Brookings PD officer resigns after council votes to reinstate city manager

BROOKINGS, Ore. – In July, Brookings city manager Janell Howard was placed on paid administrative leave for a non-work related theft charge at the city’s Fred Meyer store.

The Curry County District Attorney’s office took over the case and later reduced her misdemeanor charge to a violation.

In January, the city council voted to reinstate her as city manager, after the investigation was complete.

Former Brookings police officer, Bryan Holmes, said he resigned, during Monday’s city council meeting, because of their decision and to be a voice for city employees.

“Morally, I felt it was the right thing to do,” Holmes said. “It’s really hard as an officer to work under someone who doesn’t follow the law. We need to force them to listen to us and city employees to be heard and for the community to be heard. That’s the biggest thing. “

The DA‘s office said Howard stole a veggie tray and toilet paper from Fred Meyer.

She pleaded no contest to theft in the third degree as a violation.

Howard was ordered to pay $15.98 to Fred Meyer and a $500 fine.

Holmes said he’s not the only city employee who feels the decision to bring Howard back was wrong.

“They don’t feel that it’s right,” he said. “They don’t feel that they were heard. And a lot of them are looking for the ability to do what I did and step out because it’s not being fixed, it’s still being ignored and being accepted by the mayor and city council.”

Holmes resignation didn’t appear to surprise many in city leadership.

Brookings Mayor Ron Hedenskog tells NBC5 the controversy surrounding Howard’s reinstatement has been quote, swirling.

But he said Howard’s track record as finance manager is spotless and others in leadership positions with the city have been impressed by her managerial abilities.

He went on to write in an email quote – 

“I realize that there are some city employees that disagree with the decision, and some strongly disagree, as well as some citizens. The majority of city staff agreed and most citizens support our efforts. Our council deliberated all the facts thoroughly and the decision was made that it was in the best interest of the city to bring Janell back from administrative leave.”

We reached out to Janell Howard for comment, but she declined.

Howard is set to make $150,000 this year, according to the city.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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