How a $15.98 theft threw an Oregon coast town into turmoil –

Between April 11, 2022, and June 30, 2022, Howard appeared in Fred Meyer surveillance footage allegedly shoplifting over multiple visits, taking a total of $229.42 in merchandise. In one instance, Howard allegedly walked out with $84.32 in items she hadn’t paid for, including a $59.99 blender, according to court records.

This is hardly about just a $15.98 one-time shoplifting theft at the headline rather misleadingly implies. This a pattern of behavior. 

Brookings’ elected leaders soon put Howard on paid leave from her job overseeing the city’s $63 million budget and operations, and in October they took steps to fire the 52-year-old. In December, she pleaded no contest to the theft charge after Fred Meyer presented evidence of 15 additional shoplifting allegations against Howard over three months last year.

But in a reversal that surprised many in Brookings — a former logging town of 6,800 people on the rugged Pacific coastline six miles north of the California border — the city council voted 4-1 in January to reinstate Howard. Then, along with all other city employees, she got a 5% raise.

Not surprisingly, the people of Brookings are outraged. Lack of accountability has pervaded our society, and people know it is a poison.