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City manager allegations revealed, Betz responds in interview

Jacque Betz cleared of criminal charges, report submitted by police department to district attorney alleges relationship with officer


A special report completed by Capt. Jeff Kosmicki of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department has revealed the allegations that led to a criminal investigation into City Manager Jacque Betz, allegations that involve a personal relationship between Betz and a police officer, information passed to her during the course of that relationship, and prior knowledge by the officer that the police chief would be placed on leave.GARY ALLEN - No criminal charges – City Manager Jacque Betz has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in her placement of Newberg-Dundee Police Chief Brian Casey on administrative leave, but will remain on administrative leave herself until City Council meets again on Aug. 17.

The report, obtained by the Newberg Graphic, was submitted following the city manager’s decision to place Casey on leave pending an assessment of the police department. It sets forth information that Kosmicki had gathered and was submitted sometime between July 18 and July 19, when Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry announced a criminal investigation would begin into Betz's actions. That investigation ended with an announcement July 31 that no charges would be filed against Betz.

While the reports completed by the Oregon State Police as part of the investigation have not yet been obtained, the initial NDPD report details the allegations that led to that investigation.

The report indicates Kosmicki learned in “recent week(s)” that “a disgruntled officer of the (NDPD) has been having an inappropriate personal relationship with the city manager of the city of Newberg.” He surmised this from written statements provided by officers within the department who had direct conversations with the “disgruntled” officer, later identified as Officer Jeremy Fair.

The statements were requested by Kosmicki and were voluntarily provided by officers, he wrote. They were provided anonymously “out of fear and uncertainty when the chief was suspended and the city attorney announcement was circulated in the police department.”

Four statements were received by officers, three of which make mention of Betz and Fair. The statements were taken shortly after Casey was placed on leave.

The first statement describes a conversation that allegedly took place between the writer and Fair about a week prior to the chief being placed on leave. The topic of discussion turned to the police department and how employees were leaving for other agencies, then Fair reportedly told the writer that “everything was going to change in five or six days.”

When asked to elaborate, Fair reportedly described recent interactions he had had with Betz following a ride-along she was present for on his shift, during which he talked about problems with the police department.

Betz allegedly later invited Fair to her home to discuss the problems, also stating that “she had bought a bottle of (tequila) and wanted him to come and drink with her.”

Fair went to Betz’s residence, the report alleges, and “they were challenging each other on how much they could drink.” Fair reportedly told the writer that “Ms. Betz drank until she passed out,” but did not elaborate on whether there was sexual contact between the two when asked by the statement’s author.

Fair also did not elaborate on “what was going to happen in five to six days with regard to the police administration; he just said to me, ‘You’ll see.’”

The second anonymous statement also focuses on the alleged relationship between Fair and Betz, describing conversations with Fair in which he reportedly commented “how he believes the city manager flirts with him” and how during a ride-along “they discussed how they both liked to drink tequila and beer.”

Fair reportedly later told the statement’s author that “his intention was to have a sexual relationship with the city manager and he made comments about her body including her breasts. He said he did not think it was going to be hard to do.”

The author also relays alleged conversations between other officers regarding Fair and Betz, including one comment “that Officer Fair needed to just take one for the team.”

The writer also described Fair as “one of the most disgruntled patrol officers in the department.”

Another statement makes even more explicit reference to locker room banter hinting at a relationship between the officer and city manager. Its author reportedly “overheard a loud, jovial conversation between several officers and Jeremy Fair” during which “officers were ribbing Jeremy about having sex with the city manager,” making comments “like ‘you better perform well, I need a raise,’” to which Fair allegedly responded ‘I do the best I can’ and ‘I won’t let you down boys.’”

These and other conversations convinced the author that Fair “was engaging in sexual activity with the city manager on behalf of the officers to ensure a raise in pay.”

The anonymous writer took the information to Capt. Chris Bolek, who reportedly “did not know what to do with it as it was about an officer and the city manager as opposed to a violation of city policy regarding an officer and a subordinate.”

In a fourth statement an anonymous writer alleges another officer besides Fair also knew about the chief’s impending administrative leave order, as the officer had stated that “it’s nice to see (the administration) feel the heat for a change.”

Kosmicki then offered his own take on the situation in the report, concluding that “it appears that some relationship between Officer Fair and the city manager exists, and that Officer Fair has ignored the chain of command and communicated his personal grievances and concerns outside the department to the city manager.”

In a phone interview Monday afternoon, her first since being placed on leave, Betz responded to some of the allegations made in the report and deferred comment on others until she returns from leave.

She declined to comment on any of the statements made by the anonymous officers, explaining, “I don’t really respond to anonymous claims, I don’t think they’re worth addressing.”

Betz did acknowledge that Fair is a “friend and a neighbor of mine,” and that on ride-alongs with Fair and roughly 10 other officers she did learn about “issues facing the city and some of the challenges for the employees.”

When asked about Kosmicki’s assertion that Betz may have had motive to place Casey on leave to prevent Fair from being compelled to reveal the alleged relationship, she stated, “If a police department has a concern about the conduct of any of its officers, they have a process for addressing those concerns.”

While she would not disclose what specifically led her to begin an assessment of the police department, she gave a timeline of events from her perspective. On July 17, the day the news broke about Casey’s leave two days earlier, Mayor Bob Andrews decided to call a special executive session for the following Monday, July 20, she said, “so I could sit down with the full council, with the city attorney and human resources and go into detail about why we are conducting this assessment, because they asked for that.”

But on Sunday, when District Attorney Brad Berry announced he and Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau would be investigating allegations of criminal charges, the situation changed.

“I was visiting family on Sunday and he told me to stay with family, and they were going to have a special emergency meeting at 7 the next morning,” she said. “Basically I was notified at 7:20 that I was on paid leave, and I was not afforded the opportunity then to go to the City Council, obviously, that evening and talk to them about the reasons for the assessment.”

She was not sent the press release announcing the investigation and was not contacted by anyone from the district attorneys’ offices, OSP, and was also not allowed any contact with anyone in the city because of the paid leave restriction.

Besides the anonymous statements, Betz declined to comment on whether she perceived a political motive in the allegations made by the police department, on how she responds to the popular Internet theory that the “good old boys network” of Newberg is rallying against a government newcomer, and on her reaction to City Manager Pro Tem Terry Mahr reinstating Casey the day he took office.

“I really haven’t been paying attention to the media or social aspects of this,” Betz said. “For obvious reasons, it’s been quite difficult for myself.”

Betz explained that she has not commented during this process because she has been unsure whether it was appropriate, having never been placed on administrative leave or having to retain an attorney before.

She also expressed that she would still be able to effectively lead if returned to her position, even given the widespread controversy and turmoil.

“Absolutely, I love being a city manager and I understand at times it can be difficult,” she said. “I haven’t accused anybody of doing anything and I really did not want this to play out in the media, I was trying to respect everybody and really was just doing my job in a professional manner.”

Fair did not respond to a request for comment Monday, and Stone did not respond to a question of whether a relationship between a city manager and police officer would violate any city codes or policies.

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