City fires Portland Parks Director

Steve Osborne

The Portland Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to terminate the City of Portland Parks Director Steve Osborne at its Jan. 3, 2016 meeting. Mayor Ken Wilber presented his recommendation to the aldermen, citing a lack of confidence in Osborne's ability to manage and direct the Parks Department.

Mayor Wilber presented Resolution 17-02, asking the council members to confirm the mayor's recommendation to terminate Osborne.

"I have made the decision regarding what's best for the City and for the Parks Department to terminate Steve Osborne as the Parks director," Mayor Wilber explained.

In his prepared correction action notice for termination, the Mayor cited a "lack of confidence in Mr. Osborne's ability to manage and direct the personnel and activities of the Parks and Recreation Department and maintain positive interaction with the public."

"On what basis did you make this recommendation?" Alderman David Andrews asked.

"This is something that has been in the thought process for quite some time," Mayor Wilber explained, adding he and Osborne have had several conversations about behavior, several of which were documented in Osborne's personnel file.

Alderman Jody McDowell said, "If you feel like this in the best interest of the City, then I respect that."

"This isn't coming by easily," Mayor Wilber added. "It's something I've had to give a lot of hard thought."

He clarified for the aldermen that Osborne's termination was not directly related to the city's current conflict over the location of the bathrooms/concession stand in Richland Park. He added that Osborne had the opportunity to be present at the meeting, and opted not to.

"He knew his termination wouldn't be official until the vote tonight," Wilber added.

Osborne was hired as the Parks Director in Nov. 2007. According to his personnel files, he was reprimanded in Oct. 2013 for use of profanity in the workplace; and he was reprimanded twice in Nov. 2015 for refusing to attend a required event for city employees to have their photo made for a City identification badge, and for falsifying his time cards for hours worked.

Osborne was placed on paid suspension on Dec. 18, 2016 and was asked to turn in his identification badge, all City and Parks Department keys, as well as any city-owned property provided for use at work. He was notified on Dec. 28, 2016 of the Mayor's intent to terminate, pending the City Council's approval.

If Osborne should choose to fight his termination, he would have to appeal to the courts.

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