April 30th, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Multnomah County

Volunteers Break County Rules and City Law in Staton's Campaign for Sheriff

Dan Staton

In the past week, volunteers in Dan Staton's campaign to retain his job as Multnomah County sheriff have violated both a rule governing the conduct of county employees, and a city ordinance.

The first incident violating the employee conduct rule happened on April 24. That's when Randy Rowlette, a senior systems administrator at the sheriff's office and a steward for AFSCME Local 88, sent a message from his county email account to other union members.

Here's the email:
From: ROWLETTE Randy D
Sent: Fri 4/23/2010 6:54 AM
To: ROWLETTE Randy D
Subject: L88 Read On Break - DOOR TO DOOR CANVASS FOR SHERIFF STATON


DOOR TO DOOR CANVASS FOR SHERIFF STATON

DATE: Saturday, April 24, 2010

TIME: 10:00am to 1:00pm

DETAILS: Please meet us at the AFSCME office, located at 6025 E. Burnside Portland at 10am for instructions. We will then go to the area we will be canvassing in - if you arrive late and need to find us, please call Carol Wessinger 503-329-6729.

We hope that a large number of you will join us for this grassroots - get out the vote for Sheriff Staton event. We will be speaking with voters, distributing door hangers and more lawn signs.

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail P

The campaign for Sgt. Mohammad Ra'oof, Staton's opponent in the sheriff's race, sent a copy of the message to county attorney Agnes Sowle's office.

Sowle tells WW the message violates a county rule that forbids employees from using county email accounts for political purposes. Sowle says she forwarded the case to the county human-resources department for further action, but she declined to say whether anyone was disciplined.

It wasn't the first time volunteers for Staton — whose election we've endorsed — have been in hot water for violating county rules. Staton's opponents previously cried foul when his supporters tacked up campaign fliers in county buildings.

The second recent incident occurred this week, when signs for Staton cropped up in a grassy median on West Burnside Street downtown.

IMG_1888

The signs violate a city ordinance forbidding signs on public right-of-way, says Cheryl Kuck, spokeswoman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

"Our message is that all campaigns are expected to comply with city code," Kuck said today after she was contacted for this story.

Kuck said the signs were a safety hazard, blocking visibility on the busy street.

Staton's campaign manager, Carol Wessinger, said both the email and the signs were likely the work of volunteers. She said the campaign was not aware of either move, and she said the campaign would take the signs down.

"We wanted to follow all the rules," Wessinger says. "Sometimes you get [a volunteer] who is a little over-eager."

(Photo of campaign signs by Ott Tammik.)
 
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