Governor-Elect Tina Kotek is Getting Ready to Take Office While Two Oregon Agency Heads Resign

Governor-Elect Tina Kotek: This week, the leaders of two additional state organizations said that they will leave their positions when governor-elect Tina Kotek takes office in early January.

Governor-Elect Tina Kotek is Getting Ready to Take Office While Two Oregon Agency Heads Resign

A month after Patrick Allen, the director of the Oregon Health Authority, announced he would also be leaving at the end of Governor Kate Brown’s term, Andrew Phelps, the director of the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, and Barry Pack, the director of the Oregon Lottery, have both announced their resignations.

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The departures of Phelps and Pack were announced on Tuesday by Katie Wertheimer, a Kotek representative. She stated that Kotek is now putting together a workgroup to develop a set of standards to make sure that state agencies are held responsible during her term.

Governor-Elect Tina Kotek is Getting Ready to Take Office
Governor-Elect Tina Kotek is Getting Ready to Take Office

In a statement, Wertheimer noted that Kotek, the newly elected governor, “leaned in immediately after the election to engage with state agencies around performance and accountability.” She will be able to make choices on the traits required in important agency jobs in the future with the aid of her experience as a lawmaker and talking with Oregonians from all around the state.

Phelps submitted his letter of retirement to Brown on Monday, stating that he will formally retire on January 9 “with a broken heart.” He was appointed head of the Agency of Emergency Management in 2015, and he kept that position even though the office increased its employees this year and became a separate department. A statewide emergency services system is now coordinated and maintained by him and his 80 or so subordinates.

As a team, he said in his letter of resignation, “we have transformed our state’s hazard landscape, created communities that are more prepared, reduced our shared risk, and become better positioned to lead through whatever bad day may lie ahead, all while responding to and recovering from the most significant disasters in our state’s history.”

Phelps lauded Brown for her support of disaster management efforts and financial commitment, claiming that her efforts had made Oregon a “safer place to live.”

During his time, he pointed out, his agency had to deal with nine federal disaster declarations and nine state emergency declarations, including the two most expensive catastrophes in state historyβ€”the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfires in September 2020. He commended his department’s efforts in updating the 911 system, implementing a statewide emergency mass notification system, and extending the state’s mutual help system.

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He declared, “We have established a strong basis for the new department, and I am certain that the director-elect is well-positioned to succeed.

Tuesday’s request for comment about Pack’s departure did not receive a prompt response from an Oregon Lottery representative.

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