By John Darling for the Mail Tribune - May 14, 2008
Kerry Bradshaw, a candidate for Jackson County surveyor, came under review five years ago by the state ethics commission over allegations he used city time and resources to do private work on the side while employed as a surveyor for the Medford Public Works Department.
Based on documents found on Bradshaw's computer and other evidence, the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission found there was "substantial objective basis" to believe Bradshaw had violated the law and recommended further investigation.
Bradshaw said in a recent interview that rather than fight the complaint, which would've cost him "thousands of dollars," he paid a $500 fine and quit the job.
"The city felt my outside business was crowding into my city work," Bradshaw said. "We had a disagreement and I quit and started my own business."
The complaint was filed by public works Director Cory Crebbin, who declined to be interviewed for this story.
Darrell Huck, Bradshaw's opponent in the primary, said the complaint against Bradshaw was five years ago and therefore a "dead issue."
Huck added, however, that he believes mixing personal and government business is a clear conflict of interest.
"You shouldn't use public resources to conduct personal business," Huck said. "That is straightforward, basic ethics."
Huck said he is concerned that Bradshaw has said he would keep operating his private business, Timberline Land Surveying Inc., if elected county surveyor.
"I would treat the county surveyor job as a prime occupation needing full-time attendance," Huck said. "To try to run two businesses opens the door for potential conflict of interest."
According to the GPSC's preliminary review, the city found documents on Bradshaw's work computer indicating he had engaged in personal business with city resources and on city time. The documents included legal descriptions of property, proposals and contractual agreements, survey drawings and invoices for work performed.
"It appeared that Mr. Bradshaw had been operating this personal businesses as a land surveyor during the years 2000 into 2003," the review said.
In his defense, Bradshaw said surveyors were allowed flexible work schedules and could work on weekends, evenings or early mornings to compensate for personal time taken during normal business hours. He also said he used the work computer when his home computer was down and that some of the documents found, though personal, were used when conducting city business. He said that his personal business activities "had never resulted in any complaints, reprimands or unfavorable evaluations," the GSPC review said.
Bradshaw said in an interview he admitted no guilt when he paid the civil penalty.
"It wasn't worth the hassle. I didn't agree with it but I didn't have the thousands of dollars to fight it," he said.
Doug Detling, manager of the city's Human Resources Department, said in an interview that city employees, then and now, are not authorized to do secondary work using city time or resources and that flex time (making up hours used for personal work) is not allowed.
Employees are allowed secondary work outside business hours as long as they report it in advance and it doesn't occur inside the city, Detling said.
John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in The Mail Tribune: http://www.mailtribune.com/