County Administrator Liane Richardson’s efforts to increase her pay from $152,345 to $175,656, an increase of 15.3 percent, earlier this year caused public outcry at a time when Lane County is strapped for cash. Now questions are arising about whether Richardson may have gained an increase in the money she was getting after all, despite the outcry and despite saying she would say no to an immediate raise. County Spokesperson Anne Marie Levis has confirmed that Richardson has placed herself on administrative leave.
The county was asking the public for a tax levy and releasing prisoners from the jail at the time when Human Resources Director Madylin Zike was asking for large raises for Richardson and County attorney Stephen Dingle in a proposal to the County Commission. According to the R-G, Richardson was lobbying for the raise in emails.
Voters passed the jail tax levy, but the county is still up against funding shortages for everything from homeless animals to public safety to human services and the jail is still underfunded.
Attorney Barry Davis sent a letter to the county this week that referenced “out of the ordinary adjustments to Liane Richardson’s take home compensation.”
According to a statement from Jim Steiner of AFSCME in response to EW’s questions about the letter. “The letter did not get into specifics but after that letter went out, the union separately requested information about compensation, compensation changes and exceptions to county payroll policies for Liane Richardson and Stephen Dingle since Jan. 1, 2013.” Steiner says, “Whether Davis’ letter or the union’s request for information had anything to do with Liane Richardson being placed on administrative leave is anyone’s guess at this point.”
The county is holding an executive session at 9 am July 24 to discuss:
Personnel ORS 192.660(2)(b) - To consider the dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent who does not request an open hearing. Steve Dingle – 30 minutes
EW will update online as soon as more information is made public.
Update: According to the R-G, Richardson forwarded her emails to the county board about the pay issue to that paper and reporter Saul Hubbard writes "because of the arrangement, she has now received payments for sick and vacation time beyond what she is contractually entitled."
EW did not recieve the emails from Richardson that she forwarded to the R-G.
The R-G is also printing that Richardson says she believes there is nothing "unethical or improper about what I’ve done.”
The county wants to clarify it's not the compensation Richardson was getting that went up, it's the way she was applying "time managment" hours. The blog post read "compensation" earlier and now reads "money she was getting."
The county also takes issue with Hubbard's characterization of Richarson's emails as portraying that "because of the arrangement, she has now received payments for sick and vacation time beyond what she is contractually entitled." Bur as of 1 pm July 24, that statement is unchanged on the R-G's website.