The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has ruled that a complaint filed against TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane is outside of its jurisdiction.
Retired bus driver and longtime TriMet scourge Al Margulies filed the ethics complaint on March 14, alleging that McFarlane used his office for financial gain by hiding a raise for himself and other executives at the transit agency. Margulies also contended that McFarlane violated state laws about executive sessions by discussing the raises in private meetings.
The Oregonian reported last month that the TriMet board knew about executive raises hidden inside the category of contingency funds, even while it cut back service and raised fares.
Margulies's complaint also alleged that McFarlane has been "using public funds to hire his friends. All his recent hires have been friends of his."
The ethics commission sent a letter to McFarlane on March 21, telling him Margulies' allegations "do not appear to involve these areas of Commission jurisdiction."
Margulies, who runs the "Rantings of a Former TriMet Bus Driver" blog, has also filed a $20 million class action lawsuit against the transit agency, alleging unfair labor practices.