Gov. Kate Brown today sent her first written message to all state employees. In that message, Brown talked about the importance of transparency and lauded Department of Administrative Services employees who refused a Feb. 5 request from former Gov. John Kitzhaber's assistant to delete thousands of Kitzhaber's emails from state servers.
What Brown's message means for an ongoing Oregon State Police investigation into how the emails Kitzhaber wanted to delete got to WW is unclear.
Here's the message Brown sent at 2:42 this afternoon:
Dear colleagues,This is my first direct message to you as Oregonâs Governor, and Iâm writing today about an issue I know matters to all of us: fostering a culture of accountability and trust within public service.I understand the critical role employees at all organizational levels play in ensuring transparency and ethical behavior in state government operations. I want every public employee to feel empowered to speak up if he or she becomes aware of a situation or is asked to do something that does not comport with policy or law, and to feel confident that such a report will be taken seriously.Speaking to recent events involving the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and Governor Kitzhaberâs email accounts: I believe the staff members at DAS who were not comfortable with what they believed they were being asked to do by Governor Kitzhaberâs office responded correctly by notifying their supervisors, and the agencyâs decision to suspend further action was appropriate. I appreciate the good judgment these individuals demonstrated as well as the investigative work that is bringing important information regarding these events to light.Every state agency must have policies and procedures in place that inform staff how to ensure security and integrity of state operations. Agencies should ensure that there are regular and appropriate trainings for managers and staff in these policy areas so that there is no question about their respective obligations. I also want to emphasize that public employees â and members of the public â always have the option to utilize the hotline for reporting government fraud, waste and abuse within the Secretary of Stateâs Audits Division. If you wish, reports may be made anonymously, and I can assure you that the Secretary of Stateâs Office takes these reports â and its legal charge to protect the confidentiality of those who report â very seriously. More information is available at http://sos.oregon.gov/audits/Pages/fraud.aspx. I encourage you to use this resource and/or the agency procedures available to you any time you believe that you are encountering fraud, waste or abuse. Your willingness to speak out will help ensure a more effective state government.Thank you very much for all you do in service to the people of Oregon.Sincerely,Kate BrownGovernor of Oregon