TALENT — Oregon's Government Ethics Commission has voted to drop an investigation into allegations that City Manager Tom Corrigan improperly benefited when city workers installed panels on the side of a personal trailer he was using to haul trees to a city nursery.
Commissioners voted 5-1 in Salem Friday to drop the case despite a staff recommendation to move to investigation.
Joe Strahl, who oversees city engineering under a contract, filed the complaint on April 8. Public Works Superintendent Lester Naught and employees Bret Marshall and Chance Metcalf also signed the complaint. "I wished they had gone forward," Strahl said Monday. "I'm disappointed. I think a lot of misinformation that was out there could have been resolved by doing an investigation."
Corrigan and attorney Lauren Sommers of the Local Government Law Group, which represents the city, attended the session in Salem. The Talent City Council had earlier agreed to supply legal counsel for Corrigan in the matter. "I would compliment the ethics commission on their work," said Corrigan. "It is a very difficult job. They are very diligent in their pursuits. I appreciate the job they have to do and the conclusion that they reached."
Commissioners felt they had enough information to decide against going forward, said commission Executive Director Ron Bersin. The meeting was a closed executive session and Bersin would not discuss the reasoning behind the commission's action.
"There are times that the staff here will recommend to move (an investigation) forward. We may want to know more information," said Bersin. "I believe (the commissioners) got all the information they needed to get their decision."
The complaint alleged that Corrigan benefited financially when wooden panels were fitted to his trailer by Metcalf and Marshall. Corrigan was bringing trees on the trailer from his property in Sams Valley to a tree nursery established by the city's Together for Talent Committee.
Corrigan paid for the panels, but Metcalf and Marshall spent an estimated 51/2 hours on procurement and installation in late February.
According to information cited in a staff report: