Oregon’s first public records advocate quits

The Bulletin | 9/9/2019 | Claire Withycombe
SALEM — Oregon’s first-ever public records advocate is resigning from her post Oct. 11.

Ginger McCall, appointed by Gov. Kate Brown in early 2018 to boost transparency and openness in state and local government, said she was stepping down after what she called “meaningful pressure” from the governor’s office to represent its interests in her role on the state’s public records advisory council.

Willamette - Week - McCall - Resignation

Willamette Week first reported McCall’s resignation.

McCall sent two resignation letters: one to the advisory council, and a second to Brown.

Letter - Brown - McCall - Governor - Office

In her letter to Brown, McCall wrote that she believed she and the governor’s office had “conflicting visions” of the public records advocate’s role. She felt the role should have “a high degree of independence and serve the public interest,” she wrote in her letter, but said the governor’s office didn’t agree. She wrote that she was pressured to represent the interests of the governor’s office, “even when those interests conflict with the will of the council and the mandate of the Office of the Public Records Advocate.”

“I have not only been pressured in this direction, but I have been told that I should represent these interests while not telling anyone that I am doing so,” McCall wrote. “I believe these actions constituted an abuse of authority on the part of the General Counsel, and are counter to the transparency and accountability mission that I was hired to advance.”

McCall - Attempts - Solution - Point - Visions

McCall said she “made multiple attempts to find a workable solution, but at this point I no longer believe these conflicting visions of my role can be reconciled.”

In a resignation letter to the state Public Records Advisory Council, of which she was a member, McCall was less explicit, but alluded to her concern that the role be independent.

Office - Role - Public - Government - McCall

“This office serves an essential role in connecting the public with the government,” McCall wrote....
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Bulletin
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