Shady Cove will pay former exec $23,648

Town also ready to swear in new mayor

SHADY COVE — A separation agreement between the city and its former city administrator will put a roughly $24,000 dent in the city budget as officials ready themselves to swear in an experienced new mayor on Wednesday.

The city will pay that amount to Danise Brakeman, who left her position as city administrator on Oct. 1, following the City Council's unanimous vote on Aug. 22 to support the separation.

In addition to being paid for unused vacation and sick leave, Brakeman will receive a single lump sum payment of $23,648 for four months' back salary and benefits, according to the separation agreement.

The city also will continue to provide Brakeman with health insurance through January 2014, according to the agreement, and she will work in a consulting capacity through the end of the year as the city trains a new administrator.

Brakeman also agreed to "not to pursue any litigation of any kind or nature" against the city, the agreement said.

"I think it was a positive outcome. I think everybody at the end of the day was happy," said Aaron Prunty, city administrator pro tem and former assistant to Brakeman.

In May, Councilor Leith Hayes requested an executive session to formally reprimand Brakeman after a heated exchange during the May 2 council meeting, during which Hayes chided Brakeman for what he described as disrespectful and insubordinate behavior directed toward him.

It ended with an apology from Brakeman to Hayes.

Brakeman would not comment on the separation agreement, other than to say it was mutual.

Former Shady Cove Mayor Ron Holthusen, who announced his resignation last month and stepped down Monday, has been replaced by former Shady Cove mayor Tom Anderson, who held the position from 1996 to 2005.

When Anderson was elected mayor of Shady Cove, a nearly bankrupt city at the time, he helped turn the town with a 30 percent deficit into a financially solvent community within two years.

Anderson, who was selected by the City Council during a special session on Monday, will be sworn in Wednesday, Prunty said.

Holthusen, 70, in the first year of his third two-year term, is moving to Jacksonville. He said the decision to uproot from Shady Cove was a hard one for him and his wife to make, but the couple are looking forward to settling into a new home on a piece of property they located years ago.

"It's a hard thing to do, because we've really enjoyed the community.

There is a lot going for the area. It's been hit hard since 2008 with the economy, and it's been a struggle for the business community, but I think it's beginning to turn around some," Holthusen said, when he announced his retirement. "We've enjoyed our time here, and I've enjoyed my term as mayor."

The Holthusens moved to Shady Cove nearly 10 years ago from Portland, he said.

Sam Wheeler is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at

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