More than three months after Multnomah County's emergency manager resigned under accusations of lengthy brunches and illegal recordings, the search is finally on for a permanent replacement. The county posted the opening on Friday, offering up $90,000-140,000 a year to the right person.
It's a good bit of money, and an ostensibly desirable position. But at least one trade publication is cautioning would-be applicants. In a posting yesterday on the website for Emergency Management magazine, blogger Eric Holdeman could only offer restrained praise for the job.
The salary looks great and the Pacific Northwest is a wonderful place to live. The only hitch I see is in the number of directors who have rotated through that position in recent years.
Don't become too enamored with the dollar signs before you open all the drawers, look behind the curtains and check out the culture and how and why there has been the number of transitions that have happened in the past in that position.
Bottom line, "Look before you leap!"
Holdeman's referencing the Mercury's reporting from August, not long after county Emergency Manager Joe Rizzi abruptly resigned from a position he'd held for just over a year and a half.
That departure was spurred by complaints from three of Rizzi's employees. Among the gripes were allegations Rizzi spent long segments of the workday brunching with his girlfriend, and that he recorded conversations with coworkers on his iPad without telling them, a potential violation of Oregon law. Following the third complaint, the county placed Rizzi on administrative leave. He resigned the $122,000/year job immediately.
Rizzi denied the allegations against him, and said he'd been unfairly demonized by an employee (Rachel Novick, wife of City Commissioner Steve Novick) who he'd recently reprimanded. He resigned, he told the Mercury, because his job had become a "political battle," and he'd had offers elsewhere.
Two of Multnomah County's last three emergency management directors have left under allegations they were unfit managers (former Emergency Manager George Whitney resigned in 2008 amid outcry and controversy). Now, as Ebola paranoia takes hold, the county's Office of Emergency Management is looking for its eighth director since 2000.