Bush report remains under wraps

Police chief put on leave last September

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin

Published Jul 3, 2014 at 12:01AM

Prineville officials have denied a public records request from The Bulletin seeking access to a report on the conduct of Police Chief Eric Bush.

Bush, a Prineville officer since 1990 and chief since 2003, was put on leave in September 2013 for what City Manager Steve Forrester described as a “personnel matter.” The city subsequently turned to the Local Government Personnel Institute, an independent group that assists city and county governments in Oregon with personnel issues, to conduct an investigation into the allegations.

Forrester initially said in November 2013 that the investigation was nearing its completion, but the group encountered some delays attempting to reach members of the military it sought to interview as part of its investigation. The group delivered its report to Prineville officials late last month. Bush is a brigadier general with the Oregon Army National Guard.

Captain Michael Boyd has been serving as interim chief in Bush’s absence.

Tuesday, Prineville city recorder Lisa Morgan denied a public records request from The Bulletin seeking access to the report.

In her letter, Morgan argued that the report concerns a personnel discipline matter, and is only subject to disclosure if Bush is disciplined, and then, only if the public interest requires its disclosure.

Prineville city attorney Carl Dutli, who has handled the majority of the city’s communications concerning the Bush affair, did not reply to an email sent Wednesday asking when city officials might make a determination on Bush’s employment status.

— Reporter: 541-383-0387, shammers@bendbulletin.com