The allegations that resulted in the Eugene City Council putting interim Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds on leave are â€œdisturbing and disruptiveâ€ and lack merit, Eugeneâ€™s previous auditor Cris Beamud said in a written statement.
â€œI have had an opportunity to speak with Dawn Reynolds, and I do not believe that the allegations against her are meritorious,â€ wrote Beamud, who left Eugene last summer to head the police oversight system in Atlanta.
Interim deputy auditor Elizabeth Southworth accused Reynolds of disclosing confidential information and the city council met in a session closed to the public on Saturday and put Reynolds on administrative leave while investigating the complaint.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t sit well that the auditor would be exposed to such scrutiny for so little,â€ said Beamud in an interview.
â€œThe information that she [Reynolds] disclosed to the lawyer representing a complainant was not privileged or private or even investigatory in nature,â€ Beamud wrote in her statement. â€œYou cannot take otherwise public information and transform it into privileged information by putting it in a file. That is exactly what some members of the police department would like to do.â€
Beamud continued, â€œNo human being can withstand the twisted scrutiny that the police would like to impose on the auditor. This is a very difficult position, and I do not believe that any person can do this type of work without the support of the city council. The city council needs to examine the nature of the allegation, including the Auditorâ€™s perspective before doing anything that undermines her authority and ability to do her work.â€
Munir Katul a physician who resigned three months ago after serving on the Civilian Review Board said he agreed with Beamud. He said the council should not have put the auditor on administrative leave before hearing from Reynolds, who he said is recovering from surgery. â€œItâ€™s not like a cop shooting and killing somebody,â€ Katul said of the leave. â€œI think this is ridiculous. This is implying far greater guilt for the auditor.â€
The Eugene City Council voted unanimously to consider delaying the imposition of pending street assessments to look for a fairer way to finance the projects.
Facing huge cuts in city services due to the recession, the Eugene City Council voted unanimously today to blow at least $17 million in city reserves on a new police station that voters opposed three times.
Keeping the reserves from being used to prevent more than $10 million in cuts to popular library, parks, Hult Center, planning, community policing and other services was a primary motivation for the City Manager and councilors. â€œIt really canâ€™t be on the table as part of the budget committee discussion,â€ said Councilor Chris Pryor. â€œWe need to make sure it goes for this.â€
Three south Eugene councilors and Mayor Kitty Piercy had expressed concerns about the budget maneuver on Monday. But including up to $5 million in the proposal for a seismic and mechanical upgrade of the City Hall building was apparently enough to win over their support today.
But while all the councilors and city staff may support prioritizing the police station above other city services, voters do not. Police station measures failed in May and November 2000 and again in 2004. The last margin was 60 percent opposed.
City Manager John Ruiz recommended that the council get around the will of the voters on the police station and spend its reserves on the unpopular facility without asking voters. Voter approval is "unlikely in the foreseeable future,â€ he wrote in a memo.