The Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted Friday, June 3, to dismiss an ethics complaint against former Wood Village Mayor Dave Fuller, which alleged that he violated state law during a budget meeting regarding the employment of his daughter with the city.
The complaint, filed by Wood Village City Councilor Mark Clark, charged that during the city's annual budget meeting April 22, 2010, Fuller did not publicly announce his conflict of interest before discussing a proposal to cut the position of administrative assistant from the city budget.
Fuller's daughter, Dana Fuller, was hired in 2005 for that position, which provided administrative assistance to the mayor. Elimination of the position would have shaved $63,492 from the budget.
Under state law, public officials are required to publicly announce when they have a conflict of interest before taking any action that could or would result in financial benefit to the public official or to the public official's relative.
The ethics commission, which began its investigation in December 2010, found there was insufficient evidence to indicate that Fuller violated the law. Although Fuller participated in the meeting, the report noted, he did publicly disclose his conflict of interest as recorded in the meeting's official minutes.
'OK, so everybody knows that this is my daughter,' Fuller said in a recording of the meeting. 'I will talk about the position, not my daughter, OK, but this position is the one that supports the mayor in his activities … If you don't care about your mayor being involved in the region, cut this; but if I don't have this administrative service and what goes on with that, then I won't be as effective.'
The report also noted that no vote was taken at the meeting. The budget was approved at a subsequent City Council meeting and no positions were cut.
Dana Fuller was later fired from her job by then-City Administrator Sheila Ritz on Dec. 23, 2010. The position of administrative assistant was eliminated and replaced with an office assistant position at a smaller salary in February.
Dave Fuller said on Tuesday that he felt exonerated and vindicated when he found out about the dismissal on Friday.
'I've known for the full year this was going on that I wasn't guilty,' he said. He felt the complaint was filed in revenge from Clark, a former city employee who was dismissed during a probationary period before he ran for City Council.
Clark said he did not have a problem with the commission's decision because Fuller is no longer mayor and his daughter no longer works with the city. In following the law, Fuller should have stated that he had an actual or potential conflict of interest and refrained from the discussion, Clark said.
Clark said he worked well with Fuller during his time on the council and supported him on most issues. He also noted that he was dismissed from his job by Ritz and not by Fuller.
'In any case, (Fuller) should have known not to discuss his daughter's job, as he had been warned before,' Clark said.
Fuller said he also felt his daughter was unjustly terminated from her position. He said she did an excellent job working with city employees and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, as well as in organizing several events including the Easter egg hunt, the City Nite Out and the End of Summer Oktoberfest.
'I've never been asked in any of her performance evaluations if she was doing a good job, and I don't think the council was asked about the job she had done,' he said.
The city administrator is responsible for hiring and firing city employees.
Fuller served as mayor for 10 years before stepping down during the Jan. 18 council meeting. He then served on the council until he resigned April 26.
Fuller said he doesn't have any plans to re-enter city politics. He said he is enjoying retirement and that he and his wife are planning to take a cruise to Alaska for their 50th anniversary.
'I'll look at opportunities as they come my way,' he said.