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Report on Chief Bush investigation sustains multiple alleged incidents of misconduct

The Local Government Personnel Institute investigation of Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush alleges 11 incidents that ultimately led to his termination.

The report details findings related to falsification of time records and misuse of flex time as well as the misuse of city’s equipment, email system, credit card, gas card, and vehicle. It also alleges a failure to perform the duties as police chief, citing problems with communication, productivity, self-management, problem solving, interpersonal relations, teamwork, flexibility, dependability and community perception.

The report was compiled after interviews with 13 people including City Manager Steve Forrester and multiple city staff, and several members of the Prineville Police Department including Captain Michael Boyd and Sergeants Jimmy O’Daniel, Ray Cuellar, and JoAnne Bauer.

The 277-page report included narratives and transcripts from audio recorded interviews that scrutinized Bush’s use of flex time associated with his service in the Oregon National Guard. Concerns over his time off arose last year when city leaders learned that he would be serving in Korea during the month of August.

“In an internal review of Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush’s time sheets, it was noted that Chief Bush’s flex time hours were inconsistent with his peer group (other department managers),” LGPI investigator Aaron Olson stated. “Chief Bush had more hours than City Manager Steve Forrester expected. Mr. Forrester wasn’t able to reconcile Chief Bush’s reported hours on (his) Outlook Calendar, unit history, and overall knowledge of his attendance at work.”

The report stated that the investigation began on Sept. 3, 2013, following a phone conversation between Olson, Forrester, and City Attorney Carl Dutli on Aug. 28.

After scrutinizing Bush’s emails and city and military computer laptops, and interviewing multiple city and National Guard personnel, Olson sustained 10 of the 11 findings alleged.

“All evidence shows that Chief Bush misused the City of Prineville’s Employee Handbook policy on flex time,” Olson reported. “After examining (his) time sheets, Outlook Calendar, CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) entries and utilizing other sources, I detected that there were at least 39 instances in which Chief Bush reported earning flex time, but the CAD hours didn’t reflect those hours he earned.”

Regarding the falsification of time records, Olson stated that “corroborative witness statements and physical evidence proves that Chief Bush did not always perform his paid duties as police chief while on duty with the City of Prineville.”

The report went on to say that “Chief Bush admitted to doing military work on City of Prineville time. Chief Bush repeatedly conducted non-police and non-city activities while on duty that were linked to his off-duty employment with the Oregon Army National Guard.”

A complete story on the report will be published in the Friday edition of the Central Oregonian.



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