Former Oregon Police Chief Tom Gulch said Mayor Marge Brown asked him to resign two months after she had suggested that he promote her son, Officer Jeff Brown, to sergeant.
Gulch made the allegation at a council meeting on Oct. 12.
Gulch said he had just conducted interviews of three officers who were on a promotions list. “Jeff Brown was on that promotions list, and he was at the bottom of the list, the number three officer,” said Gulch. Mayor Brown had stopped Gulch as he passed her in the hallway of the municipal building and asked how her son had done on the interview.
Gulch said he told the mayor that Officer Brown and the other candidates had done well.
“Then she asked me questions in which I couldn’t grasp the focus of,” said Gulch. “Mrs. Brown was not only mayor, but she also had been on council for a long time, and knew the answers to the questions she was asking me.”
He said the mayor had asked him if he knew about the “rule of three.”
“You could promote any one of the three on the list,” he said the mayor had told him.
The civil service rules allow the city to pick any of the top three scoring candidates for a post.
Gulch said the mayor then asked if the city had ever bypassed a top scoring candidate, he said.
“And she knew the answer to those questions. She knew on one occasion, we had bypassed the number one candidate,” he said.
Gulch did not identify the person who was bypassed. But in an article that appeared in the December 5, 2005 issue of The Press, the city hired Timothy TenEyck, Mayor Brown’s nephew, for the position of police department dispatcher, though another candidate had scored higher on a civil service exam for the job, which paid $19.79 per hour, or $41,163 per year.
Chad Brice, who had the top score, objected before city council at the time.
Gulch had said at the time that the two other candidates scored higher than Brice during the interview process.
Brice said he was told he was not hired because he had filed for bankruptcy at one time.
“Hundreds of thousands of people in America file for bankrupcy. I don’t understand why that is a hindrance against me,” Brice had said.
Brown had said Brice should have a “private conversation” with Gulch, and other police officials who were involved in the interview process at the time, and suggested they go in a back room.
“Is your nephew perfect, though?” Brice had asked Brown.
“Chief,” Brown had said to Gulch, “would you be so kind to take Mr. Brice in a back room. I don’t want this to get where we’re blowing up at each other. It doesn’t get us any place.”
But for the sergeant’s position, Gulch said at Monday’s meeting that he had told Mayor Brown there was no reason to bypass the top candidate.
The officer who was chosen for sergeant, he said, “was clearly the superior candidate for the promotion at that time.”
“Mrs. Brown then walked away from me,” said Gulch. “I was so struck, I went home and told my wife about that conversation. My wife said, `Watch out, Mayor Brown’s going to get rid of you right now.’ It was less than two months from that conversation when the mayor called me into her office and told me she wanted my resignation because I didn’t match her management style.”