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Oregon public records advocate quits, citing interference

Oregon's first public records advocate announced her resignation, saying Gov. Kate Brown's office abused its authority, contrary to the transparency and accountability mission that she was hired to advance.

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 5:36 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon's first public records advocate announced her resignation, saying Gov. Kate Brown's office abused its authority, contrary to the transparency and accountability mission that she was hired to advance.

Ginger McCall said in a letter Monday to Brown that when she accepted the governor's appointment in January 2018, it was with the understanding that the Office of the Public Records Advocate was to operate independently and with a mandate to serve the public interest.

Instead, McCall says Brown's top lawyer, Misha Isaak, pressured her to represent the governor's interests, while not telling anyone that she was doing so.

McCall said she believe these actions constitute an abuse of authority.

She is leaving on Oct. 11.

Brown issued the following statement:

"The allegations made today by Ginger are a surprise to both me and my Chief of Staff. I find the fact that this situation has reached the point where she feels the need to resign deeply regrettable. Had Ginger reached out to me sooner, I would have put my efforts into addressing her concerns and avoiding her resignation. The continued reform of public records law in Oregon hinges on the success of the Public Records Advocate and the Public Records Council that my office created.

"I agree with Ginger that the Public Records Advocate should be truly independent. I look forward to meeting with Ginger immediately to hear directly from her how the Council will develop recommendations to the legislature to create a truly independent position.

"It appears this is a situation where staff were conflicted between the goals of serving the Governor and promoting the cause of transparency. Let me be clear, there should be no conflict."

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