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WJBD - Local News - Future Direction of Salem Economic Development Department in Question after McDaneld's Termination

Future Direction of Salem Economic Development Department in Question after McDaneld's Termination

By WJBD News

Salem City Manager Bill Gruen wants to sit down with the city council to determine the future direction of the city's economic development department.  The economic development director position is now open with the termination of Tracey McDaneld earlier this month.  

"The job description, make sure that we were on the same page about what the economic development director should do, and I think we also need to set some priorities, policy priorities and goals that we also want to accomplish in the future.  Doing all that with the city council will decide what we do with economic development, both in terms of action and personnel in the future", said Gruen.  

Gruen says when he came to Salem he was excited to have a full time economic development position and still feels it is needed to not only handle businesses wanting to move to Salem but also the paperwork involved in the city's tax increment financing districts and enterprise zone.  While emphasizing any final decisions are based on council input, Gruen sees several economic development priorities.  

"Developmental property at Kinney Boulevard, property available in the industrial park.  If we're fortunate enough to have U.S. Sonnet get that gigabit grant from the state, that will lead us trying to promote Salem for that as well", said Gruen.  Gruen says no timetable has been set for the discussion on the future of the economic development director's position.

McDaneld has filed a motion in her federal lawsuit against the city seeking to be reinstated to the economic development director's position.  She claims the firing was in retaliation for her filing the suit claiming she was being paid less in the position because of her gender.  

The city's attorney, Julie Bruch, says while no additional hearing was set on McDaneld's termination after her attorney was given more time to file a written response, the material presented was considered before McDaneld was terminated on November second.  Burch says a schedule for the trial proceedings will be set at a November 30th hearing.  She anticipates the case will be set for trial sometime around December first of next year.  Bruch says because of the pending court case that will determine if any is compensation due, McDaneld was terminated without any severance package.

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