Portland Police Association President Scott Westerman emailed Mayor Sam Adams last night to both apologize to the mayor while strengthening the call from his union of 900-plus members for the mayor to resign. In his message to Adams, Westerman cited sections of the city code he thinks Adams has violated.
In public comments, Westerman has also talked about the appearance of a double standard — that police officers who have lied have gotten significant discipline while Adams, who is responsible for assigning the police bureau who helps control the bureau's budget, isn't held to the same standards.
The examples Westerman cites: in 2006 former chief Derrick Foxworth was demoted for a series of salacious emails with a civilian police employee that city commissioners, including Adams, found undercut his credibility.
More recently, Police Chief Rosie Sizer fired officer Christina Nelson last year after determining Nelson lied to city benefits administrators about what type of surgery she'd had.
Here's the email Westerman sent Adams last night:
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2009 21:09:00 -0800
From: Scott Westerman
Organization: Portland Police Association
To: Adams, Sam
I am writing to you to apologize for immediately calling for your resignation without first attempting to have a conversation with you. The PPA's approach was a reaction to the press conference. I actually expected you to take that opportunity to step down for the benefit of Portland. When that didn't occur, we became vocal in our position. Having said that, I
want to reiterate that this apology is only for not attempting to contact you first and in no way diminishes our opinion that you need to resign immediately for the benefit of Portland.
The PPA's position is based on a number of factors that I think you need to seriously consider in making your decision. As a sitting commissioner, mayoral candidate, and sitting mayor, you violated several rules in the City's code of ethics which were adopted while you were Mayor Katz's chief of staff. Specifically, from the City's web page:
1.03.020 (1) The City's powers and resources are to be used for the benefit of the public rather than any official's personal benefit. To function effectively, the City needs the public's respect and confidence that its power will be used on behalf of the community as a whole. In this
context, improper acts are doubly wrong: a selfish decision is not only wrong in itself, but also wrong because it violates the public's trust in government.
By likely utilizing either city funds, or campaign funds, you have acknowledged that you employed Mark Weiner to assist you in the cover up of your relationship and your continuous lies to the citizens and employees of Portland.
1.03.020 (2) Ensure public respect by avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. Public service requires a continual effort to overcome cynical attitudes and suspicions about the people in government. For example, conduct which could appear dishonest to a reasonable observer will undermine the public trust even if the conduct is not illegal.
In this case, by trying to cover up your involvement, you acknowledge the impropriety (and appearance of it). In addition, your lies to the citizens and employees of Portland were dishonest, and have undermined the public trust even if the conduct is deemed not to have been illegal.
1.03.040 (3) Campaigns for election allow the voters to make an informed choice on appropriate criteria. Elections offer the ultimate accountability for City officials. Therefore, candidates should strive for respectful and accurate discourse on important issues. To protect freedom of speech and of the press, Oregon law does not prohibit ethically questionable actions such as untrue statements, unkept promises, or deliberate deception. Nevertheless, such actions are unethical. It is also not ethical to focus a campaign on trivial matters or on the kind of negative exchanges that make voters conclude, "A plague on both your houses.
You readily acknowledge that you covered up your inappropriate relationship to fool the voters so they would not consider the issue of an alleged inappropriate relationship in casting their vote. Moreover, you didn't have the faith in Portlanders to trust you, and deliberately
deceived the voters in order to win the election.
1.03.050 (D) Officials avoid discreditable personal conduct and are personally honest.
Not only were you personally dishonest, you were professionally dishonest
as well when you sent out an official letter to the citizens and employees
of Portland denying any inappropriate relationship, yet acknowledged during
your press conference that it was in fact inappropriate.
As the mayor of Portland, you are responsible for all serious discipline. Even if you delegate that responsibility to someone else, it is still you that sets the example. There is no way for you to get around the glaring double standard you present when you discipline any employee that has accepted their responsibility, and seeks forgiveness rather than discipline. This is not a precedent anyone wants. Yet, if you stay, that is exactly the precedent you will be setting.
Finally, in imposing discipline on then Chief Derrick Foxworth, you are quoted as saying something to the effect of, "When the situation deteriorates to being the subject of jokes, it's time to step down." While I won't repeat the ever growing number of jokes out there that make a mockery of you personally and your mayoral position, I will ask that you follow your own advice in this matter. It has deteriorated to being the subject of jokes.
On a personal note, and something I have mentioned in every press conference I have given, I was looking forward to working with you. When you named Commissioner Saltzman the commissioner in charge of the Police Bureau, I thought that was a bold move and one that gave me inspiration and respect for your leadership. If this was a matter of ability, I do in fact
believe you had the potential to be a good mayor. However, I don't believe you are being realistic in your ability to restore the public trust. Your actions in 2007 and your adamant denials to the other commissioners, the public, and every city employee combined with your continuing lies all the way through the end of last week have shattered any ability to garner
With protests mounting on both sides of this issue, I think you can see that there is a division being created here that is not in the best interest of Portland. Please, for the benefit of Portland, consider resigning immediately. Don't drag this issue on for months.