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Hales fires top city administrator

Mayor Charlie Hales fired Jack Graham, director of the Portland Office of Management and Finance, on Wednesday.

Graham had been criticized for several questionable financial transactions, including trying to transfer Water Bureau money to his department to cover a financial shortfall.

Hales declined to detail the reasons for his decision, however. Instead, his office issued the following statement late Wednesday afternoon:

"Today, I am announcing that I have asked Jack Graham to step down as Director of the Portland Office of Management and Finance.

"As leader of the city of Portland, and Commissioner of OMF, I want this city to do its work without distraction. Controversies involving OMF have become a distraction. As the commissioner in charge of OMF, I believe it is now time to make a change. I am therefore ending Jack Graham’s employment agreement with the City of Portland.

"However, we are at the start of the annual budget-writing process. To ensure a stable transition, I have asked Jack to stay on until Jan. 30, when he will submit the proposed OMF budget for 2014-15.

"An interim director of OMF will be announced prior to Jan. 30.

"Earlier this month, I launched the process for an independent, external analysis of the entire Office of Management and Finance. We have requested bids and are in the process of selecting a contractor. That process will continue.

"A national search will commence for a permanent OMF director. Since taking office in January, I have overseen national searches for the leadership of Transportation; Fire & Police Disability and Retirement; and the City Attorney. A great American city like Portland deserves no less than a national search to find the best possible OMF director.

"I wish Jack the best and thank him for his service to the City of Portland."

Charlie Hales

Mayor

Portland, Oregon