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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Survivor Portland Bureaucracy: Day 6

She had some strong defenders in our comments section over the past week, but when the most recent Tribal Council votes were counted, Transportation Sue was gone. Portland City Transportation Office Director Sue Keil was the fifth bureau chief bounced from the island on Survivor Portland City Hall: Bureaucracy Edition. The vote was close -- 21 percent for Transportation Sue, 17 percent for Linda (City Attorney Linda Meng), and 15 percent for Eloise (Regional Arts and Culture Council Director Eloise Damrosch).

Be that as it may, Transportation Sue's road to the title of Ultimate Survivor has hit the cosmic speed bump, her torch has been snuffed out, and she's to leave the island immediately. Go by aerial tram [rim shot]!

Which brings us to Tribal Council No. 6, in which readers will vote another one of the city bureau directors out of the picture. Do it for any reason, or for no reason, but do it just once a day, please. We'll keep at this, every city workday, until only one bureaucrat survives. None of the remaining players was mentioned by Nigel Jaquiss, Phil Stanford, or Randy Gragg in the media yesterday, and so no one has immunity today.

If you need a better picture of the players up for a vote, remember that photos of the entire cast (except one camera-shy member), and links to each of their bureaus, are here. Good luck to all the remaining players:

Many have fallen; a dozen remain. Which Portland bureaucrat should be the next to leave the island?
Amalia - Office of Neighborhood Involvement Director Amalia Alarcon
Chief Dave - Fire Chief Dave Sprando
Water Dave - Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff
Dean - Environmental Services Bureau Director Dean Marriott
Eloise - Regional Arts and Culture Council Director Eloise Damrosch
Ken - Interim Chief Administrative Officer Ken Rust
Linda - City Attorney Linda Meng
Lisa - Emergency Communications Bureau Director Lisa Turley
Rosie - Police Chief Rosie Sizer
Revenue Sue - Revenue Bureau Director Sue Klobertanz
Will - Housing and Community Development Bureau Director William White
Yvonne - Human Resources Director Yvonne Deckard
pollcode.com free polls

Comments (6)

My vote is for Linda Meng inspired by this article last week. Instead of figuring out how to do justice to these two ladies as Fireman Randy did in one of his good moments, admit the City had a problem, and not punish the messengers of that problem, the City chose to use its power and endless resources to further torment these two women instead of fixing the problem.

Council will pay $470,000 to settle discrimination suit
Portland - Commissioner Randy Leonard says city bureau rules weren't enforced consistently
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
The Oregonian

Reversing their decision a year ago to appeal, Portland City Council members will agree this week to pay $470,000 to settle a racial discrimination suit filed by two code enforcement officers who were chastised for spending too much time together.

Lisa Washington and Roxie Granville, both African Americans, sued the city five years ago alleging that supervisors in the Bureau of Development Services chastised them for being seen out of the office together.

The lawsuit dated to a 1997 incident in which a co-worker spotted them walking together during a break. A supervisor told the women that they were "being seen together too much" and cited bureau policy against such fraternization. In their lawsuit, the women say no policy existed at the time. A policy requiring all employees to notify a supervisor when they go into the field was drafted in 2001, but the women say it was enforced only against them.

City lawyers said that supervisors talked to the women about their job performance but denied that it was because they were seen together too often.

A federal jury sided with the women last June, and a judge awarded them more than $50,000 each in damages and other costs. In September, the City Council voted to appeal at the recommendation of city attorneys.

Yet less than a year later, Commissioner Randy Leonard says it's time for the city to accept some responsibility. Leonard oversees the Bureau of Development Services.

"After some examination, it became clear that the Bureau of Development Services was not enforcing their rules consistently," he said. "What they did in regards to these women looked different because it was different . . . We don't have bureau managers who discriminate. But the bureau has not done a good job of enforcing the rules. We're going to be a better organization as a result of this."

City Council members will vote on the settlement Wednesday. As part of the agreement, Granville will receive $300,000 and will leave city government. Washington will get $170,000 and will stay in the bureau.

"She's very valued here," Leonard said.

The settlement costs include attorney fees, back pay and medical bills.

Anna Griffin: 503-294-5988; annagriffin@news.oregonian.com.

©2007 The Oregonian

Does ONI do anything useful? Maybe it should be called the "agency in support of NIMBYs" When I called Amalia recently I had to listen to her voice mail in English, then in Spanish before I could leave a message. Two weeks later an ONI employee contacted me. Action on my complaint (illegal campaign signs on City property): Zero. Amalia goes, then downsize this agency.

One of the problems with this version of survivor is that the bureau directors don't make bureau policy; the commissioners do. If you vote a director off the island because they're bad managers, fine. If you vote them off because of bad policy, then they are simply fall guys for the commissioner in charge. This of course is how it works in real life. When there's a big snafu in a bureau, the commissioner takes responsibility and then fires the director.

Sounds like coaching professional sports.

Sounds like coaching professional sports.

Except the pay's not quite as good.

Does ONI do anything useful? Maybe it should be called the "agency in support of NIMBYs"...

Well, that's one interpretation, I suppose. I would argue, though, it is the City agency that is in most supportive of the neighborhoods, and getting them a place at the table in city governance.

Wearing my hat as a neighborhood person and activist --versus my hat as government functionary-- I'm very impressed, and appreciative, of the support they provide.

I can't speak to the specifics of your complaint, Don, but an election issue would have been better directed to the City's election officer in the Auditor's Office, which ONI'S information line would most likely have directed you to immediately if you'd called their 503-823-4000 information number, a great resource for getting citizens to the right place in city and county government.

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