Well, the Oregon DOJ has responded to former SAIF CEO John Plotkin’s requests regarding their proposed Name Clearing Hearing (NCH), and lo and behold, it seems the employees will not be encouraged to attend.

You guys will need to speak to the principal to request a hall pass, it would seem. Be sure to have your jock strap on when you ask. I hear that is a requirement now, and they might be checking.

You will recall that Plotkin was terminated by the SAIF board for some very flimsy reasons, and the employees have been rather upset about the entire ordeal. Plotkin had requested that employees be allowed to attend his NCH without having to use vacation or flex time. No deal, says DOJ Attorney Tessa Sugahara. In her latest letter to Plotkin’s attorney, she specifically states, “Attending this hearing is not within the scope of duties assigned to employees of SAIF and compensating employees who wish to attend is not appropriate. If employees elect to request vacation or flex schedules to attend this hearing, that will be subject to the regular request and approval process for employee leaves”. 

Kind of gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling all over, doesn’t it? It is almost as if they believe they have an understanding of what appropriate is.

Plotkin also requested that the hearing be held “In or near Salem” at a facility capable of holding all who wish to attend. Sugahara's response states that “The location of the hearing will be determined, in part, based on availability of a facility sufficient to accommodate 50 or more individuals. SAIF will be evaluating venues in Portland and Salem. “

Considering there were an estimated 200 people at his termination hearing, seems they might be shooting a tad low. You might want to line up early.

If you get your hall pass, that is.

The proposed date of the hearing is July 7th, but don’t go making those picnic plans just yet. While some of Plotkin’s requests were accepted, just as many of them were rejected. And SAIF has advised him he will have to pay for certain information to be retrieved if he wants it. This is in addition to an already princely sum I understand he paid for the first round of records requested. Due to this, it is unclear at this time if the hearing will proceed, on that or any other date.

Oh, and if you do go, do not worry at all about retaliation or any harassment based on your visible support of John Plotkin. Ms. Sugahara says that cannot happen. They have a policy against that. Specifically, she says:

“SAIF has policies in place that prohibit retaliation. These policies apply to this situation as they would to any other matter implicating the workplace. Within this specific request, the statement about a climate of fear and intimidation existing at SAIF is conclusory, and as such, it is specifically denied. By way of observation, Mr. Plotkin ran the corporation for three months and was enmeshed in the corporate culture; to the Board’s knowledge  Mr. Plotkin did not identify a climate of fear and intimidation as a concern.” 

There you have it. Fear in your workplace does not exist. We have it in writing, and John Plotkin never identified it as an issue. There are policies in place to protect employees like you. You can probably ask the “neutral third party” hired to hear your concerns about it.

Or better yet, if you see John Plotkin at the hearing, ask him how well they worked for him.


For a list of Bob’s other SAIF/Plotkin articles (as well as a couple old AASCIF articles that get picked up in the search), Click here.

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