WaCo: Duyck speaks up

Carla Axtman

My posts from this week citing concerns about the Beaverton Planning Commission's new zoning and land use policy included information about issues with staff in Washington County. Specifically, information stating that staff who raised red flags about Beaverton's decisions were feeling their jobs threatened--and that those sorts of threats would flow from the Chair, Andy Duyck.

Duyck called me this morning to object, saying that he didn't know anything about these issues (meaning the Beaverton zoning changes) until he spoke with Commissioners Schouten and Malinowski about it in the last few days. He said that staff for the County were not allowed to do personal advocacy on county time. Duyck says he considers the sorts of objections raised by his professional land use staff and any other staff to be personal advocacy.

When I mentioned that I was aware of staff who were concerned that working on this on their own time would threaten their job, to the point that they wouldn't even share their name, he said that those staff members have "nothing to fear". "Employees of Washington County can express their opinion on private time. They have the same rights that I have," Duyck said. "I will defend them."

Duyck also said that anyone who came to me as a source to the contrary were "partisan" and that I was making this a "partisan issue". Duyck wanted to know who I'd been speaking with. I refused to say. He complained that I was making him "guilty until proven innocent", and that multiple sources who say things contrary to what he's saying should not be given more weight. That I would give multiple sources more weight over his alone shows a "lack of integrity" on my part.

I have little to add at this point. I think Duyck's quotes speak for themself.

Update: 3:15PM: I was just going through my notes again from this morning's conversation with Duyck. I neglected to mention that he told me that Washington County staff works at the direction of the Commission. So part of the problem with staff using county resources is if they were doing so without explicit direction from the Commission (say by seeing something that seems problematic and looking in to it autonomously), they'd be doing so outside what they were supposed to be doing. I think that's an important point. This means that Duyck would not want staff to be bringing things to his attention that were potentially problematic. It would need to be the other way around. This seems especially odd to me, because the expertise of staff would essentially be going unused to ward off potential problems.

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    This is disturbing. Apparently Duyck wants the land use staff to be a rubber stamp, rather than to do their jobs.

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      Oh, and thanks SO much Carla for shining a spotlight on this mess.

      Where are our "traditional" media outlets in all this? Asleep? Where are the small-government, don't trust 'em as far as I can throw 'em types NOW?? Gawd knows, if they were trying to expand MAX contrary to the conclusion of a public process there would be all KINDS of noise about this. But because it's big-box stores against the wishes of neighbors it's just, ho-hum, who cares? I don't get it.

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    How does one pronounce Lord van Duyck's name? Fear of stating facts and professional opinions at this level of government, where the head honcho is just down the hall and has power to hire and fire either you or your boss does not contribute to good government.

    Of course, according to Lord van Duyck's ilk, government is the problem. Therefore there is no such thing as "good government."

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    Did anybody else get the mental image of Darth Vader squeezing an officer's neck with The Force while saying "I find your lack of faith disturbing"? http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ljeozj3c931qa1id2o1_500.gif

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    The expectation that staff will NOT share their expertise unless asked in annoyingly common in Salem as well. For C's sake, we pay them, why don't electeds WANT to know what they think? Why don't they WANT them to bring up problems? Share concerns?

    Is it all about the ego of electeds? Is it that payeds are afraid for their jobs because it is considered being a whistleblower to even notice problems? Crazy making for sure.

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