Dorrah defends Langrell

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

Councilor and former mayor says deposing Langrell as mayor would give Baker City a 'statewide black eye'

By Pat Caldwell

pcaldwell@bakercityherald.com

In an email last week, Baker City Councilor Dennis Dorrah pleaded with fellow councilors to reconsider a proposal to discuss the performance of Mayor Richard Langrell and perhaps remove him from the city's top elected slot.

Even if councilors voted to remove Langrell as mayor he would remain a city councilor.

In Baker City the City Council, not the voters, elect the mayor to the largely ceremonial position.

The City Council elected Langrell to a two-year term as mayor in early January 2013. The vote was 5-2. Councilors Clair Button, Dennis Dorrah, Roger Coles, Kim Mosier and Langrell himself voted for Langrell.

Councilors Barbara Johnson and Mike Downing voted for Button, the only other councilor nominated for mayor. Button was elected as vice mayor.

Langrell's possibly shaky future as mayor became public last week during the City Council's meeting.

Button, at the end of the session, asked City Manager Mike Kee to place a proposal on the next meeting agenda to discuss Langrell's job performance and ultimately decide whether to rescind his appointment as mayor.

Langrell's most controversial action during his term was filing a lawsuit earlier this year against the city, seeking more than $9,000 in water and sewer fees he paid for his motel, the Always Welcome Inn.

Langrell's critics, including Downing, contend the lawsuit creates a conflict of interest for Langrell that should preclude his serving as mayor.

Not all councilors agree.

Dorrah, himself a former mayor, said last week he was taken aback by Button's proposal.

On Wednesday, the day after the meeting, Dorrah sent an email to the other councilors (except Langrell) and asked that the proposal regarding Langrell's job performance be jettisoned from the agenda for the next Council meeting, which is scheduled for July 8.

"Since Clair (Button) has requested that a vote be taken on Mayor Langrell at the next meeting it is obvious that you are all in agreement and intend to strip him of his mayorship. I would ask that you reconsider and have this item removed from the agenda of our next meeting," Dorrah wrote.

See more in Monday's issue of the Baker City Herald.

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