Michael Jordan, the director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, abruptly announced his resignation to agency staff this morning.
Jordan, who is in effect the state's chief operating officer, made what observers believe was a career-ending choice the morning of Feb. 18 when he ordered a criminal investigation by the Oregon State Police into how WW obtained personal emails from former Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The emails concerned state business, were stored on a state server, and were part of a batch of emails Kitzhaber's assistant asked Jordan's agency to destroy.
Jordan later told The Oregonian he'd made the choice to launch a criminal investigation without consulting with his new boss, Gov. Kate Brown, who'd been sworn in less than two hours before he summoned state police.
His decision to launch a criminal investigation into the emails contradicted Brown's pledge that she would bring a new era of transparency to Oregon government.
After launching the investigation, Jordan subsequently placed two Department of Administrative Services employees on administrative leave. That action gave the appearance of a witch-hunt. Jordan seemed to be punishing employees who'd refused a Feb. 5 request from Kitzhaber's office to delete thousands of Kitzhaber's emails.
Jordan's sudden resignation suggests that Brown is serious about transparency; it also marks a strong signal that she is taking charge after replacing Kitzhaber, who resigned Feb. 18.
Jordan's last day on the state payroll will be April 1. Brown will launch a search for his successor but, in the meantime, DAS chief financial officer George Naughton will serve as interim director.
Updated at 11:30:
Here is the email Jordan sent out this morning at 10:39.
Dear Agency Heads, Boards & Commissions,This morning, I notified Governor Brown that I will be resigning as State COO and DAS Director, effective April 1. George Naughton has agreed to serve as acting director, effective immediately, until Governor Brown can appoint a successor.Weâve made great strides in the past four years to not only improve the work we do here at DAS, but across the enterprise of state government. Our relationship with the Legislature has improved, our customers are more engaged and state agencies are working more collaboratively. Thatâs thanks to your hard work and dedication.Governor Brown is committed to continuing with the Enterprise Leadership Team and other related collaborative initiatives that have led to our improvement. To maintain our momentum, she will need your continued effort and support.Regards,Michael Jordan