City Council apologizes for Civic Life mess – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-06-11 14:10:02 –

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Portland, OregonPortland Tribune) — The City Council apologized for allowing the Community & Civic Life Office to have a long-term dysfunctional and toxic work culture.

The apology took place on Friday, June 11th, and an email was sent to CivicLife and all other Portland City employees. This email acknowledges the results of an evaluation by an ASCETA consulting firm that the city law firm tried to withhold.

“As part of the healing process, and when we reform the Community & Civic Life Office, the City of Portland takes responsibility for allowing a dysfunctional and toxic work culture to remain unattended for a long time. The City of Portland apologizes to current and former Civic Life employees for the distrust, fear and polarization environment it has caused. It is unacceptable and new leadership and this port. It will not continue under the Land City Council, “said some of the emails.

Formerly known as the neighborhood association, the office has multiple responsibilities, from supporting the neighborhood association to running the city’s cannabis licensing program. It is overseen by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardersty, who believes it will take a year to complete the reorganization. This may include a provisional “soft reorganization” followed by a vacancy replenishment, but it is unlikely that a new permanent director will be hired until the final reorganization is complete.

The assessment was released on May 18, after Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt determined that it was a public record not protected by lawyer / client privileges. It concluded that four supervisors contributed to the creation of a toxic work environment and should be terminated. The report did not contain an answer in secret. The problem existed when the office was overseen by former Commissioner Chloe Udary before Hardesti took control in January 2021.

Former clerk Paul Reisner welcomed the apology. He was one of those who filed a request for public records for the assessment and appealed to Schmidt for its denial.

“Formally apologized for the important steps of the city council and under the former mayor Suk Rhee and the former mayor Chloe Eudaly for the terrible working conditions that could occur over the years in the city’s community and civil life offices. Welcome to take responsibility. Serious failure of oversight from the city council and the city’s personnel department. Work with current employees, former employees and the community to heal the department and carry it out before Lee and Udary take over. Let’s see what they are doing now to help repair the widespread damage that has been done to many of the best community engagement programs that have been done, “says Ricetner.

Since the evaluation was announced, Portland has paid more than $ 370,000 to three managers and has quit the city’s employment. The cost of the valuation was $ 127,000. This means that the city has paid $ 500,000 to investigate and begin resolving administrative issues that have been reported over the years.

Coach Suk Rhee resigned on May 14 after receiving a severance pay of $ 176,464. Payment is one year’s salary. Additional benefits include payment of vacation time incurred and 6 months of payment to continue medical benefits. The value of these benefits was not included in the contract.

By signing the contract, Lee waived his right to sue the city and agreed not to apply for a job in the city for at least three years. Such an agreement is not uncommon. Willamette Week reported that at the time, Lee’s former office manager, Amalia Alarcon Demolis, received $ 143,811 for her resignation.

As first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, the other two managers who left after signing a similar agreement were Meghuales, the city’s security program supervisor, who was paid $ 93,496, and Northeast Portland. It was Diane Riley who was assigned to the Land Neighborhood Association Union. $ 101,897 was paid to leave the office.

According to the OPB report, the fourth manager, noise control officer Paul Van Orden, who was criticized in the evaluation, refused to resign, claiming he was a whistleblower in retaliation.

Hardesty appointed an existing office employee, Michael Montoya, as interim director on May 20th. Prior to that, he was the bureau’s strategy, innovation and performance manager.

In the announcement, Hardesti said: “Community and civil life offices need me to believe that it will be a year of change and healing. Michael Montoya now helps us survive this difficult time. By the way, I think he’s a leader, but in the end, this job will give rise to stronger, more resilient and more sensitive stations. During this time, he worked with Michael and in future jobs he. We look forward to supporting you. Our community and CivicLife employees want us to face the challenges of this moment. “

In an email to office employees on June 4, Montoya said: Therefore, we are exploring the idea of ​​doing a tentative soft reorganization of the bureau … Following this tentative soft reorganization step, to mitigate the current capacity issues within the bureau. We engage in recruitment, recruitment, and onboarding initiatives. “

The turmoil broke out after Hadesti proposed to discontinue funding for Southwest Neighborhood’s Neighborhood Association Union Office and replace it with a civilian life office with two city officials. The transition is underway, even though the SWNI Board argues that the cash flow decision is an example of a management error cited in the evaluation.

“Given the ASCETA audit results and the dramatic impact on the Community & Civic Life office, including the rapid changes in leadership, the city will not reinvent the district coalition model, but rather the internal operations of that office. We believe we should focus on dealing with HR management, which has been well served to residents of southwestern Portland for over 40 years, “the SWNI Board said on May 26, City Council and City Auditor. Written in Mary Harca Valero.

Below is the full email of the Council on June 11th.

Dear civil life and all city officials,

Recently, a report was released by consulting firm ASCETA. The company scrutinized the working culture of the Office of Community & Civic Life and provided recommendations for future bureau reforms. As part of the healing process, and as we reform the Community & Civic Life Office, the City of Portland is responsible for allowing a dysfunctional and toxic work culture to remain unattended for a long time. Must be. The City of Portland apologizes to current and former Civic Life employees for the distrust, fear and polarization environment it has caused. It is unacceptable and will not continue under the new leadership and this Portland City Council.

In it, the employees were able to do a great job in the community and provide great service. We acknowledge the good work and would like to thank them.

Civic Life is a mission-focused station and it is imperative that it is not considered a kitchen sink in the City program. It is imperative that city employees feel that they have sufficient resources and support when raising workplace concerns. For too many employees, this was not the case. This conversion will take some time. By working as a city with the hard-working employees of Civic Life, we are optimistic about the future of providing community and neighborhood support and a fair process throughout the bureau and city.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the ASCETA assessment. We acknowledge the courage it took to share your thoughts and experiences, thank you for your patience and involvement in the process, and look forward to working together to envision the station’s future work. ..


Commissioner Joe Anne Hardesti
Mingus Maps Commissioner
Carmen Rubio
Dan Ryan
Mayor Ted Wheeler

City Council apologizes for Civic Life mess Source link City Council apologizes for Civic Life mess

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