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Monday, May 16, 2011

Get together and call ourselves an institute

Here's an intriguing Portland City Council agenda item. The city's going to pay an outfit named Local Government Personnel Institute (also known as LGPI) up to $31,250 to --

Nothing too newsworthy there, we suppose -- Portland hires consultants like hipsters buy cart food -- but checking out the "institute" is a fascinating process. Apparently it's a spinoff of the League of Oregon Cities, which is some sort of voluntary association of Oregon's cities and counties. The League claims its tax exemption under the tax law section governing civic leagues. At one point in its life, LGPI was apparently also connected to another statewide local government association, the Association of Oregon Counties.

But although it's housed at the League offices in Salem, LGPI apparently is a separate organization of some kind nowadays. It represents a lot of Oregon municipalities -- including legal representation -- in labor matters. The PERS board requires its staff to notify LGPI before changing its rules.

But what type of organization is LGPI? The Oregon Secretary of State doesn't have it listed as any sort of registered business entity. It doesn't appear on the excellent national Guidestar registry of nonprofit organizations. And since the city attorney's office is about to enter into an "intergovernmental agreement" with LGPI, what kind of "government" entity is it? Is it subject to the local budget law and public meetings law?

More importantly, does it prepare financial statements or file tax returns or information statements with the IRS? Does the public ever get to see these documents? Readers who might know what's under the outer layers of this onion, please help us out. We'd like to see where the 30 grand is going.

Comments (4)

The League has never been adequately scrutinized.

I long ago discovered the League Of Oregon Cities had been taken over and become distribution central for all things conniving and dishonest by Oregon cities.

If it's shady, corrupted, dubious and self serving to bureaucrats and politicians at the expense of the citizenry they do it. On a grand scale.

The acceleration, expansion and abuse of Urban Renewal/Tax Increment Financing has been their doing for sure.

They package and distribute every mission creep experiment cities don't need and help zealous city councils hoodwink their citizenry while adopting them.

The channeling of money to consultants is another specialty.

I am certain you will discover a real stench as you seek to figure out what type of organization LGPI is.

Hey, it could morph from nothing into something over time just like Metro.

Any gathering of "paid" government volunteers for donuts and coffee (or booze) to jabber is a potential weed. In the plant world Caseron works at the point of germination. We need fewer jabber sessions, at least while paid staff are, well, paid and fed a sugary diet.

Jack, you're amazing. Your questions are right-on. LPGI and League of Oregon Cities providing background information for negotiations with Portland Fire Fighters is very dubious. Why would hiring this group which is made up of mostly public employees not be protective of their own kind? Conflict of interest reeks. I'm sure Kroger and Brown will get right on it.

Also, since CoP has a whole Bureau for labor negotiations and relations, why are taxpayers paying additionally for negotiations? What does that Bureau do anyway?

And I wonder, since the work product outline is in three phases, if the $31,250 covers only the 1st phase. That is a customary trick that CoP employs on consulting contracts in hiding the true costs. They almost become endless.

Ratty tat tat!

Rooty toot toot.

We are the boys from the Institute!

(Beginning of a really really gross college "fight song" parody from MIT in the 1960s. Trust me, you don't want to "hear" the rest.

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