Portland’s Civic Life head resigning amid audit release order

Civic Affairs

The announcement also came on the heels of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt's order to release a third-party audit of the bureau

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File: Generic photo of Portland City Hall (KOIN).

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The head of Portland’s Civic Life bureau will leave the position on Friday.

Thursday’s announcement of Suk Rhee’s departure was made in part with City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who has overseen the bureau since January.

The announcement also came on the heels of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s order to release a third-party audit of the bureau, which was reported by KOIN 6 News partner Portland Tribune.

As a result of Rhee’s role as director of the Office of Community & Civic Life, the bureau “is poised to lead collaboration directly with impacted communities and constituencies and with other City bureaus to develop more equitable processes and outcomes,” Hardesty said in a statement on Thursday, adding it “enables us to take on new efforts and partnerships for these challenging times.”

Schmidt ordered the city to release the audit on Tuesday after city attorneys refused. The audit was conducted after employees complained about personnel problems, the Tribune reported.

“The city has not met its burden of showing that the primary purpose, or even a substantial purpose, of this document is the facilitation of legal services. All indicators show it to be business, management, personnel, and public relations advice intended to guide the transformation of a struggling office. Such advice, and the fact finding underlying it, is not exempt from disclosure regardless of what label is placed on it,” Schmidt wrote.

According to the Tribune, Portland attorneys have seven days to decide whether to appeal the ruling.

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