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'Whistleblower' won't work under Greisen

by: FILE PHOTO - Sgt. Doug Carpenter's attorney, Ashlee Albies, said she couldn't speak to whether carpenter would return to work should Greisen's termination be upheld.Scappoose Police Sgt. Doug Carpenter, who recently filed a legal complaint with the city of Scappoose for allegedly retaliating against him after he wrote a report critical of Scappoose Police Chief Doug Greisen, will not return to work despite the chief’s notice of termination in early April, according to his attorney.

Carpenter filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries against Scappoose in February, alleging the city carried out unlawful employment practices against him in retaliation for whistleblowing. Carpenter claims in his complaint he is suffering from anxiety and has been on medical leave due to ongoing harassment from Greisen.

Carpenter’s attorney, Ashlee Albies, of the Portland law firm Creighton & Rose PC, said she is not confident Greisen will be fired based on his decision to appeal his notice of termination and the subsequent formation of a Personnel Review Committee, which is tasked with determining whether the Scappoose interim city manager’s decision to fire the chief falls within existing law and policy.

“Given the current state of affairs, it’s not clear to me that the chief is going to be terminated, given the decision of the last PRC,” Albies said, adding that due to Carpenter’s anxiety, he requires a doctor’s note to return to work. “[Carpenter] can’t return to work under this guy who has retaliated against him.”

Carpenter’s complaint stems from a report he wrote critical of Greisen’s actions in a February 2013 police pursuit. An investigation into that pursuit found Greisen violated multiple departmental policies. The city placed Greisen on a two-week suspension without pay as a result.

Greisen appealed the suspension, resulting in the first PRC, which called the LGPI report into the police chase “an erroneous mischaracterization” of the incident and recommended Hanken rescind the discipline he issued to Greisen.

Albies said she worries the new PRC, made up of Councilors Jeff Erickson, Larry Meres and Jason Meshell, will again act on Greisen’s behalf.

“There’s very little faith that the PRC and the city are going to do the right thing here,” Albies said, adding that she disagreed with comments Greisen has made about his own termination. “If anybody is looking at what is going on here and finds that he is without fault, I think they need to check themselves. If you look logically at how this stuff has played out — they fired the city manager over this. For him to say the city is out to get him, I think, is very hollow.”

In his appeal of the termination, Greisen states former City Manager Jon Hanken used disgruntled police officers to launch two more investigations against him.

“Seeing an opening, the disgruntled employee who had been used to initiate the traffic stop ‘complaint’ was further utilized to make ‘accusations,’ which the former City Manager used to launch the second and third investigations,” Greisen writes in his appeal.

Albies said it was challenging to see Griesen’s “unfounded accusations” against her client.

“Sgt. Carpenter wasn’t a tool of the city manager, but I can see why the chief is lashing out at everyone possible,” she said. “My client just wants justice to be served and so far the city has not done that,” Albies said.

In an earlier email to the Spotlight, Greisen said the first PRC’s recommendation to rescind his discipline was legitimate, partially on the basis that the committee is a volunteer board.

“The proof is in the fact that the PRC does not get paid monetary compensation (compare that with the payments made to others),” he wrote.

Albies said Carpenter’s complaint has been assigned to a BOLI investigator, who is exploring its validity. BOLI is a state agency aimed at protecting the rights of workers and citizens for equal, non-discriminatory treatment in the workplace.