TALENT — Oregon's Government Ethics Commission will proceed with a preliminary investigation of an ethics complaint against City Manager Tom Corrigan filed by three city employees and the man who oversees city engineering.
Details of the allegations are unknown since the document is not public record at this time under commission rules. Parties involved in or aware of the complaint would not discuss its nature on Monday.
The city attorney will represent Corrigan in the case, Mayor Bill Cecil said following a Monday evening City Council executive session. Before the meeting, Cecil said the executive session was called to discuss representation. Local Government Law Group of Eugene represents the city.
Cecil said he was not at liberty to discuss the issues involved.
"There are a lot of other things going on with this that we just can't get into yet," he said. "Everyone has a right under due process. Right now, it's just a piece of paper out there, in a sense."
City Public Works Superintendent Lester Naught, Public Works employees Bret Marshall and James Chance Metcalf, and Joe Strahl, who directs city engineering, filed the complaint. Naught said he and his employees could not comment.
"We're not supposed to talk to reporters," said Naught. "We're supposed to send it all to the city manager."
Strahl oversees city engineering on a contract basis through RH2 Engineering. He's performed that role for a number of years, first with his own firm Public Works Management, then with RH2, which purchased the company.
"The complaint is a matter for the city of Talent to work with Mr. Corrigan on," said Strahl. "If the complaint is to remain confidential, then in respect to that, I want it to remain confidential."
Corrigan said he was awaiting receipt of the ecomplaint.
"We are aware that a complaint was filed. We have not received yet the written documentation from the state," said Corrigan. "The city's insurance company and the city attorney have been notified."
Ethics Commission Executive Director Ron Bersin detailed steps in the process.
"I can't talk about the nature of the complaint," said Bersin. "We will do a cursory overview of it within 135 days. The commission then would move for further investigation or to dismiss it."
Once the commission acts, the complaint becomes public record. Should it go to the next step, the commission then has another six months to investigate and render a decision.
In the immediate future, commission investigators will look at the complaint. Additional material may be sought from those who filed it and from Corrigan, Bersin said.
Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at email@example.com.