I am writing to request your authorization, pursuant to ORS 180.235, for the Department of Administrative Services to enter into a contract for the services of a special counsel. The purpose of this contract is to conduct an independent personnel review of the contracting practices related to the administration of the Energy Assurance Grant by the Oregon Department of Energy (DOE), as referenced in the letter to me from Department of Justice (DOJ) Chief Counsel Sean Riddell dated December 29, 2010. Given the circumstances of the case that have been shared with my office, I believe that an independent and expeditious review of the records developed by DOJ investigators and any other relevant information is now warranted. The findings of such a review should inform consideration of potential personnel actions. I believe that the public interest would be served best by an independent review that will not be disrupted by the transition to a new administration.
Further, as envisioned in the statute, I believe that if DOJ were to conduct such a personnel review, it would tend to create a perceived conflict of interest. Therefore, I believe that it is in the best interest of the public to proceed with an independent review led by a special counsel. Specifically, the contract will call for: (1) a review of DOJ's investigation files related to this matter; (2) the collection and review of any additional materials or other information relevant to this matter; and, (3) recommendations to the appropriate appointing authorities regarding employment and personnel actions for the state employees involved in the administration of the Energy Assurance Grant.