Gov. Kate Brown still working through transition


Gubernatorial candidates typically have two months to prepare a staff, governing strategy — Brown had less than a week.

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BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Gubernatorial candidates typically have two months to prepare a staff and governing strategy — new Gov. Kate Brown had about a week.

Brown left much of her staff in the secretary of state’s office as she has absorbed many of former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s aides, the Statesman Journal reports. But that process won’t be as seamless as some might assume.

The Portland Democrat hired Kristen Leonard — public affairs director for the Port of Portland — to be her transition coordinator on a 90-day “loan.”

Brown has said that so far, she has no plans to replace most of her staff or agency heads, but she has also said she is going to evaluate the people who work for her on an individual basis. That means there is no guarantee anyone will stay. Ultimately, Leonard said, a successful transition will not mean replacing people and shaking things up. It will mean creating a team out of individuals who possibly have competing goals and were thrust together under difficult circumstances. She didn’t mention any plans to lock them in the Capitol and make them do trust falls, but she did say there was a genuine need to get them to bond.

“It’s easy to roll my eyes at team building exercises,” Leonard said, “but some of that is needed.”

The SJ published an examination of Kitzhaber’s final weeks in office Saturday.

The report found the state’s only three-term governor spent less and less time on official business as his political career came to an abrupt end.

From the SJ:

The final two weeks former Gov. John Kitzhaber was in office were shrouded in questions. Even his staff appeared not to know where he was much of the time, and he made no public appearance.

Records obtained by the Statesman Journal show that between Feb. 5 and 18, Kitzhaber was engaged in less and less state business. He used much of his time for personal business or appointments with no obvious ties to his role in the Governor’s Office.

According to a federal grand jury subpoena, investigators are looking into a pair of projects undertaken by Cylvia Hayes in Central Oregon.

Knott Landfill and Pronghorn Golf Course were named as a part of the federal investigation, the Bend Bulletin reports.

Hayes appeared at least twice at Deschutes County meetings in 2011 with an official from the Waste to Energy Group, a California company that has a contract with the county to speed up the decomposition of waste and eventually create a marketable gas, according to county records and interviews with county officials.

Deschutes County approved the project in January 2014, and the county wasn’t named in an eight-page federal grand jury subpoena served the day Kitzhaber announced his resignation. But the subpoena identifies 15 projects and subjects Hayes worked on, including the Knott Landfill project and the Pronghorn Golf Course, both in Deschutes County. Hayes’ involvement in the landfill project is still unclear. She worked for the California group early in Kitzhaber’s third term as governor and at a time when she was bolstering her credentials as a Bend-based green energy consultant who could help guide companies’ clean energy proposals through regulations.

 




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