Michael Jordan, Oregon’s chief administrator, announced his resignation on Thursday, effective April 1.
Gov. Kate Brown appointed George Naughton to serve as acting director for the time being. Naughton is the chief financial officer at the the Department of Administrative Services (DAS).
“We are committed to continuing with the Enterprise Leadership Team and related collaborative initiatives begun under Mr. Jordan’s leadership,” Brown said. “We are grateful for his years of service to the people of Oregon and the community of state government.”
Jordan was involved in former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s scandal, specifically making headlines for asking the Oregon State Police to investigate emails leaked regarding the former governor’s behavior in office. Later, a manager in the data center sent an email that claimed the investigation was “purely political,” casting Jordan in a negative light.
Jordan previously expressed no interest in resigning and seemed to plan on continuing in office.
Jordan did not announce his resignation to the public but at 10:39 a.m. on Thursday sent an email to agency heads. He wrote:
Dear Agency Heads, Boards & Commissions,
This morning, I notified Governor Brown that I will be resigning as State COO and DAS Director, effective April 1. George Naughton has agreed to serve as acting director, effective immediately, until Governor Brown can appoint a successor.
We’ve made great strides in the past four years to not only improve the work we do here at DAS, but across the enterprise of state government. Our relationship with the Legislature has improved, our customers are more engaged and state agencies are working more collaboratively. That’s thanks to your hard work and dedication.
Governor Brown is committed to continuing with the Enterprise Leadership Team and other related collaborative initiatives that have led to our improvement. To maintain our momentum, she will need your continued effort and support.
According to DAS, Jordan will use his vacation time before leaving officially on April 1.
“All I would do is wish him the best,” said Ruth Scott, president civic improvement group Innovation Partnership. “He deserves to be in a place where he can lead.”
Naughton, who has yet to make an official comment about his new position, is a longtime state official. He served as Oregon’s chief financial officer and budget director since 2006. Previously, he worked as deputy director for the Department of Land Conservation and Development and the state’s financial office’s policy analyst.
Sen. Betsy Johnson, a vice chair of the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee, which works on the budget, described Naughton as “a competent public administrator.”
“He’s very capable,” she said.
Although Brown originally told Jordan she had no plans to change agency heads, she is now conducting a search for a director to take Jordan’s position permanently.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Thomas Patterson/Statesman Journal