An ethics complaint filed against Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd has been dismissed for any further investigation by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission for lack of sufficient evidence of any wrongdoing.
The nine-member commission voted unanimously via teleconference call on Friday afternoon following a preliminary review report from a commission investigator regarding allegations that Boyd created a position as Klamath County Community Development Director that paid him an additional $25,000 per year. Additionally, it is alleged that he conducted private business with Papé Machinery while serving in his role as commissioner.
The complaint was filed by former building official Kevin Roth on April 3; Roth was terminated in November 2019.
Boyd is running for re-election to Position No. 1 on the Klamath County Board of Commissioners in the Primary Election Tuesday, May 19.
“The information available during this preliminary review is insufficient to establish a substantial objective basis upon which to open an investigation,” said Susan Myers, investigator for the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, in the review report released by the Commission on Friday.
Boyd provided a copy of the allegations to the Herald and News prior to H&N publishing an initial story about the complaint on May 3.
He was represented in the commission review teleconference call on Friday by Klamath Falls attorney Andrew Brandsness.
In the preliminary review released by the Commission, Brandsness addressed the allegations and stated that Boyd had been the Klamath County liaison to the Community Development Department from 2017 to 2019. He also said that commissioners do not receive extra compensation for liaison duties.
Community Development Department manager Stephanie Brown states in the review that there has not been a full-time community development director since 2012. She handles fiscal duties for the department for a $100 stipend. Commission staff found that Boyd may have performed some of the duties of a Community Development director, but that it appears he has done so in his official role as Klamath County liaison to the Community Development Department.
Brandsness also said Boyd’s compensation has remained the same except for increases recommended by the Budget Committee and approved by commissioners.
Commission staff reviewed Klamath County Board of Commission minutes but found no evidence that Boyd received additional pay for these duties.
As an elected official, Boyd is not an hourly employee, and Boyd tending to Papé Machinery business at any time of the day is not use of county resources, according to Brandsness.
“We have no information to indicate that, as an elected official, Mr. Boyd is required to maintain ‘on duty’ hours,” Myers wrote in the preliminary review. “More over, information indicates that Mr. Boyd uses a cellphone, truck, and other equipment belonging to Papé Equipment to conduct his private business interests, rather than using county equipment.”
Brown reiterates in the preliminary review that Boyd does not utilize a county cellphone stipend of $720.
“I am pleased that the Ethics Commission thoroughly investigated this claim and dismissed it,” Boyd said in a news release. “To me, good citizenship and ethical leadership is everything. If we’re going to kick-start our economy, we have to show business that in Klamath we work hard and play by the rules, because that’s the kind of community job makers want to do business in.
“I’m grateful to have gone through this process,” Boyd added. “It was transparent. It was fair. And it was a reminder that all of us — especially elected officials — must work hard every day to be decent and ethical.”
Boyd told the Herald and News via phone following the hearing that he is focusing his attention on his next term as Klamath County Commissioner and how he “can help continue making Klamath County great again” if re-elected.