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July 25, 2013 03:55 PM

July 25, 2013 03:13 PM

GLOOM from skot coatsworth on Vimeo. GLOOM is Eugene musician Brit Thomas Brody. Videographer Skot Coatsworth of Portland is the brother of Steve Coatsworth of Eugene.

July 25, 2013 07:35 PM

The investigation into Liane Richardson’s pay was kicked off by a whistleblower. A county employee, represented by the county’s AFSCME union, called attention to “out of the ordinary adjustments to Richardson’s take home compensation.” Now some are questioning the investigation the pay controversy has trigged.

Richardson is entitled to accumulate unused sick and vacation time based on her government service, according to her contract with the county. Her yearly base pay is $152,345. On top of that pay, the county gives her “deferred compensation” — putting about 5 percent of that $150,000 into a pool investment account. Beginning sometime in January, Richardson apparently began to get her monthly deferred compensation upfront, which is not provided for in her contract.

Worried about taxpayer funds, the employee blew the whistle. The employee was so worried, or the atmosphere at county offices is so strained, that more half of the Lane County Commission’s statement to the media on the Richardson issue was devoted to explaining “We encourage employees to speak up when they see something out of the ordinary, and we will protect the employee’s rights to bring matters of concern to our attention without any retribution. We understand the gravity of the situation and we ask for patience from the public as we gather all of the facts.”

The employee retained an attorney, Barry Davis, and that attorney sent a letter to the county. When the county and Richardson received that letter on July 22, Richardson sent emails to the County Commission and to the R-G discussing the pay issue, and she placed her self on paid administrative leave. The county scheduled the Wednesday, July 24 executive session to discuss “To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing,” which the media can, and did, attend, but cannot report on.

The result of the session, according to the statement the county issued through public information officer Anne Marie Levis, is that “County [c]ounsel will oversee an outside investigation into the matters brought forth. The [b]oard will, as appropriate, take the necessary steps to address issues that come out of the investigation.”

But some question whether County Counsel Stephen Dingle should be overseeing the investigation. The AFSCME union has sent a letter requesting public records relating to the controversial large pay raises that had been proposed in regard to Dingle and Richardson.

Dingle also apparently knew that Richardson had been looking into changing the way she got her pay. The R-G reported on July 24 “When a county employee asked her about the change, Richardson wrote that she reverted to the original arrangement, with the money going into the investment account. She stated that she then went to county counsel, Stephen Dingle, and was told that changing how she received that deferred compensation would require a board-approved contract amendment.”

Jim Steiner of AFSCME says the union inquired into the gross wages, deferred compensation, time managment, travel and phone expenses and bonuses for Richardson and Dingle because they are related to collective bargaining. "They say there's no money, so how is someone personally enriching themselves?" he asks. The county has been strapped for cash for years, and during the time Richardson was allegedly making changes to the money she was taking home and asking for a 15 percent raise, the county was asking voters to pass a jail levy to keep criminals in jail and making cuts to much needed social programs.

EW has asked the county's public information officer for comment on Dingle's overseeing the investigation.

Update

For that comment, see this blog post with Dingle's response.

July 24, 2013 11:06 AM

An EPD officer who resigned in December pled guilty to sex abuse charges. Here's EPD's press release; we're pretty sure that the December 2013 is actually 2012, since 2013's December hasn't happened yet:

Today, Stefan Zeltvay, former EPD officer, age 44, of Eugene pled guilty to five counts of Sexual Harassment and one count of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree.

Zeltvay, who has resigned from his employment with EPD, was with the department since September 18, 1995.

Eugene Police received a possible criminal complaint about Zeltvay on July 10, 2012. During the criminal investigation, EPD learned of new, potentially criminal acts by Zeltvay and began investigating those. Ultimately, the findings were forwarded to the District Attorney.

The criminal investigation identified a number of women who were sexually abused or sexually harassed by Zeltvay. His criminal acts occurred over a period of years.  The incidents of abuse happened in a number of settings. They occurred while Zeltvay was on-duty and off-duty, during social functions and on personal time. His criminal behavior involved inappropriate comments and offensive and sexual touching.

Because of the history and nature of the abuse, EPD is concerned about the possibility there could be more victims. Anyone with information can call Eugene Police Sgt. Scott McKee 541.682.5144. If they are uncomfortable calling police, they can call the Police Auditor at 541.682.5016.

Zeltvay employed by Eugene Police as a patrol officer in September 1995 and worked patrol and rapid deployment unit until he became a School Resource Team Officer August 10, 2003. At this time, there have been no sustained reports of crimes from the schools. Zeltvay was placed on modified duty October 31, 2012 and then on paid administrative leave on December 20, 2012.

EPD Career Positions and Dates for Stefan Zeltvay:

Hired September 18, 1995. School Resource Team since August 2003.

Position Hired Into: Police Officer, September 18, 1995

Assignments per PAF history

Probationary Recruit Officer: September 18, 1995- March 18, 1997

Patrol: March 1997- January 4, 1999

RDU (Rapid Deployment Unit): January 5, 1999-February 5, 2000

Patrol: February 6, 2000-August 23, 2003

School Resource Team: August 24, 2003-December 19, 2013

Desk Duty (modified duty on 10/31/12)

Placed on Admin Leave: December 20, 2013

July 24, 2013 01:40 PM

This is the prepared statement sent out by Lane County in regard to the controversy over Liane Richardson's compensation that was brought to light by a county employee:

County Administrator Liane Richardson Voluntarily on Leave While Investigation into Issues Regarding Compensation 

EUGENE – Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson has voluntarily placed herself on administrative leave after issues regarding compensation were brought to the attention of the Board of Commissioners, County Counsel and Human Resources.

“The Board takes this matter very seriously and staff will be overseeing an investigation into the matter,” said County Board Chair Sid Leiken.  “When any employee sees something out of the ordinary, we encourage them to speak up.”

Richardson’s leave comes after an employee brought up issues surrounding Richardson’s compensation on Monday.  Richardson is voluntarily on administrative leave while County staff oversees an outside and independent investigation into the matter.

Leiken released the following statement on behalf of the Board of Commissioners:

On Monday, issues regarding the compensation of County Administrator Liane Richardson were brought to the attention of the Board, the County Counsel, and the Human Resources Manager.  Following this, Richardson voluntarily went on administrative leave. The Board had an executive session on Wednesday.  County Counsel will oversee an outside investigation into the matters brought forth. The Board will, as appropriate, take the necessary steps to address issues that come out of the investigation.

We encourage employees to speak up when they see something out of the ordinary, and we will protect the employee’s rights to bring matters of concern to our attention without any retribution.  We understand the gravity of the situation and we ask for patience from the public as we gather all of the facts.

Lane County Government will work to create a prosperous community by providing collaborative leadership, fair and inclusive decision-making and excellent sustainable local governmental services to our residents and guests.

July 24, 2013 01:59 PM

Leave it to the PNW to make a progressive parody of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" — the ubiquitous summer hit (they play it in my Barre3 class pretty  much every time I go) that critics have deemed mysognist and "rape-y." Seattle's boylesque troupe Mod Carousel plays with gender stereotypes in their version of the video and song with locals singers Caela Bailey (as Robin Thicke), Sydni Deveraux (as Pharrell) and Dalish Phillips (as T.I.).  (See the Mod Carousel and Thicke videos belows.) Mod Carousel writes of their depiction:

"It's our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions."

July 23, 2013 10:46 PM

County Administrator Liane Richardson’s efforts to increase her pay from $152,345 to $175,656, an increase of 15.3 percent, earlier this year caused public outcry at a time when Lane County is strapped for cash. Now questions are arising about whether Richardson may have gained an increase in the money she was getting after all, despite the outcry and despite saying she would say no to an immediate raise. County Spokesperson Anne Marie Levis has confirmed that Richardson has placed herself on administrative leave. 

The county was asking the public for a tax levy and releasing prisoners from the jail at the time when Human Resources Director Madylin Zike was asking for large raises for Richardson and County attorney Stephen Dingle in a proposal to the County Commission. According to the R-G, Richardson was lobbying for the raise in emails.

Voters passed the jail tax levy, but the county is still up against funding shortages for everything from homeless animals to public safety to human services and the jail is still underfunded.

Attorney Barry Davis sent a letter to the county this week that referenced “out of the ordinary adjustments to Liane Richardson’s take home compensation.”

According to a statement from Jim Steiner of AFSCME in response to EW’s questions about the letter. “The letter did not get into specifics but after that letter went out, the union separately requested information about compensation, compensation changes and exceptions to county payroll policies for Liane Richardson and Stephen Dingle since Jan. 1, 2013.” Steiner says, “Whether Davis’ letter or the union’s request for information had anything to do with Liane Richardson being placed on administrative leave is anyone’s guess at this point.” 

The county is holding an executive session at 9 am July 24 to discuss:

Personnel ORS 192.660(2)(b) - To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing. Steve Dingle – 30 minutes

EW will update online as soon as more information is made public.

Update: According to the R-G, Richardson forwarded her emails to the county board about the pay issue to that paper and reporter Saul Hubbard writes "because of the arrangement, she has now received payments for sick and vacation time beyond what she is contractually entitled."

EW did not recieve the emails from Richardson that she forwarded to the R-G

The R-G is also printing that Richardson says she believes there is nothing "unethical or improper about what I’ve done.” 

Update II

The county wants to clarify it's not the compensation Richardson was getting that went up, it's the way she was applying "time managment" hours. The blog post read "compensation" earlier and now reads "money she was getting."

The county also takes issue with Hubbard's characterization of Richarson's emails as portraying that "because of the arrangement, she has now received payments for sick and vacation time beyond what she is contractually entitled." Bur as of 1 pm July 24, that statement is unchanged on the R-G's website.

July 22, 2013 06:37 PM

First comes the "Geeky Love Song" with a kitten bonus. I want to less than three you … <3

 

And now a little "Isn't it Ironic?" now actually with irony.

July 20, 2013 10:14 AM

Lane County Commission, Eugene City Council, are you reading this?

I could make sure the politicians are reading by naming a bunch of names and those commissioners and councilors who I'm pretty sure have Google alerts set up for their names (Jay Bozievich, I'm looking at you) will click right on this. 

Citizen involvement in city and county politics is key. But how do you get people to realize that those often deadly dull meetings of mostly older white guys are important and that's where decisions are made about human rights, homelessness, clean water, forests and parks, to name only a few?

You have the community access TV station make a cool video. Go Whitehorse, Yukon Territory! I keep waiting to see Leslie Knope's face pop up, but no, it's real.

 

July 19, 2013 06:06 PM

If you're planning to attend the "Nix the Neonix" rally at Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza tomorrow (July 20) it's suggested that you bring a kazoo and a bee costume. If you lack those items, no worries, you can learn some lyrics in advance so after you're educated about neonicotinoids and bees, you can sing in protest. Lyrics by Scotty Perey.

"Neo Neo Neo Neocotinoids" to the tune of "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here"

 

"My Favorite Neonicotinoids" to the tune of "My Favorite Things."

July 17, 2013 04:32 PM

As we will write about in Slant tomorrow, Upworthy picked up this video about Occupy Medical made by three UO students and good things happened.

July 16, 2013 03:05 PM

By JeanMarie Purcell of Eugene

one dark night in a small Florida town
soon the whole world would know
what would  become a story of renown

as a dark skinned boy would walk to a store
soon the whole world would know
a passer-by thought him up to something more

walking alone he was up to no good
soon the whole world  would know
not only that — he was wearing a hood

the two came to blows in someone’s front yard
soon the whole world would know
the light skinned one saw himself as a guard

protecting all those who lived near abouts
soon the whole world would know
neighbors overheard calls for help and shouts

the light skinned one knew he acted the right part
soon the whole world would know
using his hand gun he shot straight to the heart

of the black boy on his way home from the store
soon the whole world would know
a trial and bad law would open the door —

an unarmed boy would be found the guilty one
soon the whole world would know
that the shooter was given back his gun

many a watcher was scratching his head
soon the whole world would know
one suffered some bruising, the other is dead.