With Michael Jordan out, what’s next for the state?

STATE GOVERNMENT ROUNDUP: DAS Director’s unexpected resignation signals shakeup; new governor, husband moving into Mahonia Hall; Jeanne Atkins appointed Secretary of State.

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The abrupt resignation of the Department of Administrative Services Director signals new Gov. Kate Brown’s “strong ideas,” the Statesman Journal writes.

Former state chief operating officer Michael Jordan was probably asked to step down as his resignation letter featured three sentences and no explanation for his future plans.

From the Salem Statesman-Journal:

Beyond that, it matters that Jordan is leaving because he was the force behind a massive overhaul of state government and management. Former Gov. John Kitzhaber hired him to reimagine the way state government works, and he was in the process of trying to do that. Last year, his office started talking about “leveling” managers across departments. Jordan wanted state government to operate like one big company, not a set of small ones that work together.

That meant the state needed an overarching system for handling management, just as a large company would have one consistent policy for promotions, pay, etc. This also is how the system works for union employees in state government. The idea was that a “level three” manager position, for example, should be equally difficult whether you work in the Department of Human Services, the Department of Revenue or the Department of Transportation.

What happens next is crucial, writes SJ reporter Hannah Hoffman: “State employees are essentially working for a company that just got a new CEO and lost its COO in the space of two weeks. If that happened at Facebook, there would be cover stories in Forbes about the fate and future of the company.”

Brown, husband moving into Mahonia Hall

Oregon’s new first couple completed their move into the governor’s mansion over the weekend.

From the Statesman Journal:

“It feels so comfortable already,” the governor said, referring to the four-story, 11,409-square-foot Tudor-style building that was purchased not at taxpayer expense but through private donations by individuals and businesses in 1987. “We’re so happy here. We love older homes and working to restore them. This is heaven for us.”

The Associated Press  reported on the move:

Former Gov. John Kitzhaber lived in Portland and used the official residence occasionally. Mahonia Hall is 91 years old. Brown says she and Little like working on older homes. They plan to keep their 101-year-old house in southeast Portland’s Woodstock neighborhood.

Brown says that as governor, she didn’t consider a Portland-Salem commute. Little is a U.S. Forest Service data expert who can work from home.

Jeanne Atkins tapped as new Secretary of State

Starting March 11, political veteran Jeanne Atkins will be Oregon’s secretary of state.

From a news release: “I share the values and enthusiasm for this position that Gov. Kate Brown demonstrated during her tenure,” Atkins said. “I will be diligent in carrying out the responsibilities of the office of Oregon Secretary of State.”

The Portland Business Journal reports that Portland-area politicians praised the decision:

“She has a background on federal issues with Sen. Merkley, is well-versed in the Legislature and brings with her a history of work on behalf of Oregonians,” [Portland mayor Charlie Hales] said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, a Portland Democrat who’d been mentioned as a candidate for the position, called Atkins “an experienced, fair, and effective leader who will take great care of the duties of the Secretary of State’s Office.”

Willamette Week reports on the ramifications for other state politicians:

Brown had the choice of naming one of many politicians who’d like to be the state’s chief elections officer and oversee state audits or, to name a technically proficient person who does not aspire to run in next year’s election for the job. In choosing Atkins, Brown chose the latter option.

Brown’s choice means that the three leading contenders for the job, House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D-Eugene), Sen. Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum (D-Portland) and Sen.Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin), who is co-chairman of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, will have to decide whether they want to run for the office, rather than being appointed. 

The Portland Tribune reports on criticism from House Republicans:

“The law calls for a Democratic placeholder in the Secretary of State’s Office, but I don’t know that Governor Brown could’ve picked an individual with more partisan credentials than Ms. Atkins,” says Kara Walker, the House GOP spokeswoman.

“This appointment comes a day after the governor named the former Oregon teachers’ union leader as her new education policy adviser. OEA yesterday, Planned Parenthood today — what’s tomorrow, Sierra Club? It’s clear that the same old revolving door of partisan ideologues is alive and well in Salem.”




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