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Open Meeting Laws & Portland Human Rights Commission - violations mentioned

This is an out-take video clip from the public comment & discussion from the last Portland Human Rights Commission Meeting (July 1st 2015) The out take centers around my concern (mentioned during public comment) of the HRC staff's lack of following of the Public Meeting Laws and not providing community access to their meeting minutes or announcing their proposed agenda and meetings times.
The Human Rights Commission Meeting has a public comment portion around 5PM, I signed up to speak for a 3 minute slot.

This is the video clip of that portion of the meeting, combined with a discussion at the last part of the meeting among HRC commissioners still at the table.

-->  https://youtu.be/PR6W7Ul6nYs [video 22 minutes]

In the public comment time, I mention to the commission that the meeting minutes & agenda were not posted [again].

The not posting of their meeting information has been happening for most of the year and is in violation of open meeting laws (as I understand it).

I have previously mentioned at their meetings that their website is out dated (not currently kept) and is not accurately showing what they are doing (meeting minutes) or who is even a current HRC commissioners. I have been asking that their Agenda be posted and I have also suggested when it is posted ...could it stay up longer to let the community know what they are doing.

I have also questioned them during previous meetings (public comment) why there is no links to any of the meetings videos (that I recorded) or even the slights mention that to the public or interested parties, that they could see the recorded meetings. I felt the fact that all their meetings are recorded it could benefit their/our community but it's never mentioned by them in any way.

I have wondered (and asked them) why on their social media sites (FB & Twitter) they is no mention of any of these meeting videos, yet corporate news links and corporate news video / articles are being linked to. The control over Facebook, Twitter and their website seems to me to be muzzled and or not utilized or is just being neglected. In these times of information sharing and social media service there is no excuse that the HRC is not using these tools for outreach and networking with we the people in the community. If not through these ways then how are they communicating with the people they serve.

Apparently having access to the media passwords and the permissions and the approval has been tightly kept (or not very well shared) by an "over worked & very busy" paid staff members (3 or 4)... and apparently (staff) doesn't take to kindly to people (volunteers commissioners) (public?) that rub them the wrong way, or have their opinions that are different, or have a dissenting voice or dare ask the question(s) they are avoiding.

As a person from the community who actively attends their meetings and shares the work of the HRC volunteer body, I feel disrespected by the way the "paid staff" ignores the public and then justifies their own "non-work". As a long time follower of the commission I have seen the negative relationship of the city toward the commission and how it can be detrimental to some of those volunteer commissioners and the whole commission as well. Numerous folks on the HRC have quit for probably much of the same reason(s) ...speaking up or disagreeing with city management / control. The city council at times almost seems like it is wanting the commission to fail, as it continuously marginalizes, takes away from and stifles rather than reaches out or assists the commission in its struggle to be successful. (Budget, directors, staff, media, openness, individuality, office space, office needs, free speech, dissent, justice, human rights, fairness, transparency, service,)

Oh the Irony! Within days of this recent public comment / conversation...(6.1.15) The HRC paid staff have *now posted every single months HRC meeting minutes and they have updated the main website to show who are their current volunteer members. The HRC Agenda for Aug is forthcoming. [So they say on the website] Too bad --> it had to sink this low ....just to get them to do what they should of been doing all along.

Oh and if the paid (Equity) staff say they are budgeted for only X amount of work hours available for the Human Rights Commission ...then maybe they should use some of the HRC budget to hire someone that can do the job they "are too busy" not doing . Every year the HRC sends unused money back to the city.

Regarding the notion that there is no time for the paid staff to do the job correctly for the HR commissioners in the limited time frame allotted ...maybe they better look at how that was "budgeted" or figured out for them, cause it's not adequate or serving them well.
With a bunch of new volunteer members and some crafty economic revamping by the paid staff / city hall commissioner's ....I'm sure no one will know what's "really going on" with the Human Rights Commission budget, especially with all the non-transparency of the HRC and their unconnected public.

Then again maybe there is some hope ...The staff finally posted all their required meeting minutes online for the public to see.

The full meeting from 6.1.15 will be posted here on PIMC soon.

homepage: homepage: http://www.joeanybody.com


Video: Portland Human Rights Commission July - full meeting 15.Jul.2015 13:18

Joe Anybody iam@joeanybody.com

Here is the full meeting video link

 https://youtu.be/yL0grb4DTEw [video 2 hrs 35 min]

To download the full meeting video use this link here:

 https://archive.org/details/PortlandHumanRightsCommissionMeeting7.1.15


Nasty letter to the HRC - from the Equity and Human Rights Director 20.Jul.2015 10:12

Citizen Kane

One Portland Human Rights Commissioners quit their volunteer position on the HRC right after this rude letter was sent out to commissioners. The Director is one of the "paid" staff members that is supposed to be assisting (directing) the Human Rights Commission.
The following letter is a slap in the face and is insulting to the volunteer members and the community (we the citizens).
The disrespect to the community is chilling.

(The portion of the meeting this nasty letters is referring to is here:  https://youtu.be/PR6W7Ul6nYs [video 22 minutes])

On Thursday, July 2, 2015 11:17 AM, "James, Dante" < Dante.James@portlandoregon.gov> wrote:


All,

It has come to my attention that after I left the meeting last night, some of the conversation turned, not just passionate, but disrespectful to my staff, and questioning of the support and work of OEHR as it relates to the HRC.

First, Staffing: Let me say very clearly that at no time does anyone, individually or collectively, get to disrespect my staff. They are there to support your work. Support also includes offering thoughts and suggestions on how best to accomplish your work, and navigate the waters of bureaucracy, media, organizational structure or other relevant issues. Offering these in no way implies they must be accepted. At no time have Kenya, Koffi, Jeff, Danielle, the city attorney, or I said "no" to an action of the Commission. In fact, I have defended the HRC to Commissioners who have been unhappy with HRC's work or direction. Kenya passed along information about the CPRC and was yelled at, disrespected and hung up on. Jeff has been similarly treated in the past by Commissioners. Kenya was doing her job in the HRC meeting and was yelled at and disrespected, apparently with no one saying during the tirades that such behavior is unacceptable. She has been yelled at and questioned during committee meetings. Her motives and work have been questioned. She is performing her job. Correcting my staff is my job, not yours. Let me repeat, Do Not Disrespect My Staff.

Second, Budget: As I have explained numerous times, the budget is essentially a modified zero-based budget, with an amount available based on projects performed, approximately $35,000 set aside for HRC in this past FY. This year, approximately $20,000 was spent, with $14,000 returned to OEHR's budget. The previous year $30,000 was budgeted, it was reduced to $20,000 mid-year because of no plans to spend it, and of that $20,000, $7,327 was returned to OEHR's budget. If you can't, won't or don't spend your budget by such significant amounts, there is no need to continue to set such a large sum aside. It is significantly larger than the Commission on Disability, and they have been more active than HRC. I will explain this no more either individually or collectively.

Third, Staff time: by Ordinance, OEHR is required to provide .5 FTE to support the HRC. We regularly and significantly exceed that amount of time because of the time Koffi spends with CPRC, Jeff spends on communication materials and events such as the Emily G. Gottfried Awards luncheon, Kenya spends on HRC and committees, and I spend in conversation with Commissioners.

Fourth, Media: the FB page, twitter, and any other media accounts are those of the HRC. We don't manage them. Aimee was posting content, and we have never been responsible for adding content. As of this morning, the Jeff and Kenya took time to ensure the Website is up to date with minutes of past meetings and the roster of commissioners.

Moving Forward:

Staffing: I will ask my staff to keep track of their time as it relates specifically to HRC. If or when we have reached .5 TOTAL FTE HOURS per week, we will notify the Chair by email, and that will complete our work for that week except for note taking during the week of a full commission meeting.

Media: FB, Twitter, etc. are staff time that Jeff is currently unavailable to perform, and from this point, it is for HRC to manage and add content. Any other requests for Jeff's time must be made to me to evaluate. The Office will continue to update the website with meeting minutes and notices of commission meetings.

Budget: The process will remain the same.

Independence: There seems to be a general questioning of the relationship and oversight role of OEHR vis-a vis the HRC. The HRC is a City Commission under the
Office of Equity and Human Rights. There are statutory legal requirements, there are ethical requirements, there are budgetary requirements, there are expectations of courtesy and respect between the office and the commission. These are overseen by OEHR. Failure to adhere to them impacts OEHR. OEHR will continue to manage these requirements and expectations to ensure compliance as required. The office has been transparent about these, and supportive of the HRC. OEHR has paid for consultants for strategic planning and organizational development. It has brought in the City Attorney to provide training on statutory requirements of a Commission. OEHR has provided staff support above and beyond what is required. OEHR has NOT said no to any request to allocate funds, or to perform any project or engage in any way. We have offered recommendations and suggestions, and even if strongly worded, are just that, recommendations to take or reject. If there is continued concern about the reporting structure of the office, it is a question for the Commissioner in Charge, Mayor Hales. In the alternative, the HRC is always welcome to step out on its own and become its own 501(c)(3), non-profit and conduct its affairs completely under the direction of any board it puts in place.

My direct office number is 503-823-4877 and I will inform Tonya to adjust my schedule as needed should there be any lingering questions about this email and how we will interact moving forward.



Dante J. James, Esq.
Director
Office of Equity and Human Rights