Shots fired in Sutherlin (copy)

Two vehicles from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

A former Douglas County Emergency Communications dispatch supervisor has filed a lawsuit against the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office citing age and sex discrimination.

The lawsuit, filed in United State District Court in Eugene, alleges that Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin and Undersheriff Jeff Frieze exercised age and sex discrimination when they passed on promoting then 53-year-old Ronna Salerno to the position of Communications Operations Manager despite her having significantly more experience for the position than the person who got the job, Tom Cross.

Salerno began working for dispatch in 1994 and spent 25 years with the center until resigning in October 2019.

Salerno said she and two other female applications were passed over, despite all having more qualifications for the position that Cross, who was ultimately chosen, according to court documents.

Salerno said in the complaint that not only were she and another female supervisor, Teresa DeLaCruz, passed over in favor of Cross, but that the two women were threatened with termination if they did not help train the newly appointed manager.

Frieze said that if the women did not help train Cross, he would “find someone who will,” according to court documents.

Salerno’s attorneys said Salerno filed an initial formal complaint with her then-supervisor, Laurie Jackson, that the decision was “unfair, unjust and improper, given her greater seniority and experience” over Cross. She later filed the same complaint with Cross once he became her supervisor.

The suit alleges that during an ensuing performance review, Cross wrote Salerno should “keep her comments to herself and do her job.” Salerno said she was also required to train Cross without receiving adequate pay commensurate with her new duties.

In its response to the complaint, the sheriff’s office said Cross received the promotion based on a higher total score during the interview process.

Sex discrimination is a violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Age discrimination was made illegal with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Salerno is also alleging retaliation by the sheriff’s office for both discrimination complaints.

The lawsuit does not specify specific monetary damages, and that any monetary damages will be determined by a jury.

Hanlin declined to comment on the ongoing case. The sheriff’s office is being represented by Tracy M. McGovern and Casey S. Murdock of the firm of Frohnmayer, Deatherage, Jamieson, Moore, Armosino & McGovern, P.C., of Medford.

The complaint was brought on behalf of Salerno by Ronald G. Guerra of Innova Legal Advisors, P.C., of Lake Oswego and Kelli M. Kennaday of Kennaday Leavitt P.C. of Sacramento. Neither Guerra or Kennaday could be reached for comment.

React to this story:


Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

Recommended for you

(6) comments


If this woman had the same attitude during the interview, I can see why she was not hired.

Capri moore

Good old boys club at its peak! It's all who you know at DCSO. Ask a long-time deputy or two!

Thomas Hall

Very interesting that the highly experienced women that were passed over

for promotion are REQUIRED to train the "highly" educated male that they

give the job to!!! This says it all!!!


[angry] this is happening more and more in the county workforce, I was passed over after working in Fleet for 13 years and was passed over because I did not go to college, but had 40 years experience as a mechanic.


There's a reason White Male Privilege is getting so desperate in that they continue to feel they must conquer and rule. Fore sure Fellas, don't keep believing that 4.6 million years will in any way keep you safe in your delusion. From the Smithsonian Magazine: "What’s more, the Y chromosome has degenerated rapidly, leaving females with two perfectly normal X chromosomes, but males with an X and a shrivelled Y. If the same rate of degeneration continues, the Y chromosome has just 4.6m years left before it disappears completely. This may sound like a long time, but it isn’t when you consider that life has existed on Earth for 3.5 billion years." source:


Good for these women. They need to put a stop to the nonsense of the white male privilege in the Douglas County Sheriff's Office . . . Wow . . . this deserves bigger noise and headlines.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.