Retiring Multnomah County Chief Financial Officer Dave Boyer may be the least Rogue-worthy player in the unfolding drama at county headquarters over his early retirement.
But Chair Diane Linn's long legacy of missteps makes her a too-easy Rogue fallback. And Boyer, in citing pressure from Linn's office to downplay budget shortfalls as part of the reason for retirement (Murmurs, March 15, 2006), also made a very curious request as part of his announcement.
Known for nearly 27 years as a fiscally conservative accountant, Boyer wants $140,000 plus medical and dental benefits to leave his job 18 months early. We usually applaud when civil servants take a moral stand, but a six-figure severance package to go along with his lofty principles?
Boyer points out, "In the years I was here, I saved many, many times that amount for the county."
True, but wasn't that Boyer's job? And a severance package for a voluntary retirement?
Even Boyer, who would be in a position to know, says a $140,000 package would be unprecedented in his experience for a departing county employee.
So what information does Boyer have that would make a cash-strapped county pay out all that green? The county's secret missile codes? He's not saying, but $140,000 would be a fine insurance policy to make sure he doesn't turn around and sue anybody over what happened to him.
Elected government watchdogs such as Portland city Auditor Gary Blackmer and Multnomah County Auditor Suzanne Flynn praise Boyer's work, but both Blackmer and Flynn are surprised by the amount of the severance. "That seems a little out of place," Flynn says.
Boyer probably deserves some commendation for his years of service, but $140,000 is way beyond the traditional gold watch. More important, in a possible preview for Roguery to come, will Linn's three nemeses—Commissioners Maria Rojo de Steffey, Serena Cruz Walsh and Lisa Naito—approve this seemingly spendy severance when it comes up for a vote? We'll let you know.