Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber
has a lot of work to do between now and when he takes office Jan. 10, 2011.
Kitzhaber must prepare a budget and hire staff . And he must prepare to follow through with one of his campaign pledges: to ask state agency heads, commission chairpersons and some program directors to submit their resignations. Kitzhaber has said he will radically change the way Oregon's government operates. But the Democratic governor-elect's first major decision since winning election last week returns a familiar face to the stage with Tom Imeson as his transition director
The choice of a transition director is one of the most important ones Kitzhaber will make because that person will preside over an enormous number of decisions in a short period of time. Kitzhaber tapped Imeson for the post when he first won election as governor in 1994. Imeson had been a long-time staffer to former U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and then chief of staff to Gov. Neil Goldschmidt from 1987 to 1991. Imeson also served as transition director for Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2002.
Imeson and Goldschmidt ran a highly successful consulting firm until 2004 when Goldschmidt resigned. After that, Imeson took a job at the Port of Portland, where he serves as public affairs director and works closely with Kitzhaber's former longtime chief of staff, Bill Wyatt, the port's director.
Now, although official details of the transition will not be released until a 2 pm press conference on Wednesday, sources familiar with Kitzhaber's thinking say Imeson will once again head Kitzhaber's transition team.
Kitzhaber's spokeswoman, Jillian Schoene, was not available for comment. And Imeson could not be reached.