Roseburg city manager intends to sue council

Through a public records request, KEZI 9 News obtained a letter of intent to sue from Nikki Messenger, who has served as city manager since last year.

Posted: Aug 27, 2020 6:35 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The City of Roseburg could be facing a lawsuit soon from its own city manager.

According to a meeting agenda from Monday, the Roseburg City Council discussed a “possible litigation” during an executive session.

Through a public records request, KEZI 9 News obtained a letter of intent to sue from Nikki Messenger, who has served as city manager since last year.

In the letter, attorney Randy Rubin said Messenger was discriminated against by the council because of "actionable" comments and posts from councilwoman Ashley Hicks in April. The letter did not specify what the comments were, but it did say they were based on Messenger’s gender.

Hicks told KEZI 9 News that she was confused by the allegations because she didn’t know what Messenger was referring to.

“You know, it hasn’t been communicated about what exactly she’s offended by,” she said.

On the other hand, Hicks said she’s always been openly critical about Messenger and she never thought she was good at her job.

“Coming from constituents from Ward 4, that’s how they feel our city is ran,” said Hicks. “It’s not being managed correctly.”

City staff declined to comment on this story due to legal reasons. KEZI 9 News also reached out to Rubin, but he also declined.

Council president Bob Cotterell said he couldn’t discuss the issue on behalf of the council, but he said Messenger does have support from the city. He said they’re just trying to move forward.

“The city will still be able to use the parks, the streets will still get their stripes painted, the fire department will still put out house fires or business fires or grass fires,” he said.

According to the city’s Facebook page, Messenger has worked for the city for more than 20 years.

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