It has been a busy week for the people of SAIF, where the Plotkin termination scandal continues to wreak havoc while the dedicated employees and staff struggle to maintain their professionalism and commitment, just working through every day.

Tuesday was the company's 100 year anniversary, and it hosted a celebration at the Salem Convention Center. Sources tell me it was a nice event with good speakers and some interesting side notes. Numerous “I Stand With John Plotkin” Bulldog buttons were visible, and many employees were dressed in red, showing their support for their short lived but highly popular former CEO.

No Board member attended. Previous executives and the Governor, at one time expected, did not show.

Everyone was probably out meeting with their lawyers.

That would be because John Plotkin filed a Tort Claims notice on Tuesday (available here or in Attachments to the right), outlining specific damages incurred by SAIF's less than honorable actions against him. In notifying SAIF and its executives of his intent to bring legal action to recover economic damages, it also declares he intends to pursue punitive damages from Ryan Fleming, Chris Davie and Brenda Rocklin.

Happy 100th, everybody! Mighty fine job.

Disclaimer: I have been taken to task privately for not acknowledging the difficult work and dedication of SAIF employees, who continue to maintain on the job professionalism and perform their best despite the continual circus swirling in the Executive Suites. I acknowledge that, and promise to dedicate an article to that soon. The collateral damage is certainly not intended. In the meantime, please understand that continual mocking such as displayed above is not intended to distract from the quality and work of those dedicated professionals. It is just directed at those people they work for who are tanking the reputation of their company.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, reportedly more than 200 employees turned out for a public birthday lunch for John Plotkin. That is a remarkable number, when you realize it represents about 25% of the total staff at SAIF. There were some retirees amongst the gathering, so the actual current employee percent may be slightly lower, but it is still a remarkable achievement nonetheless.

But by far, the biggest news, in my view, is that the local press in Oregon has seemingly emerged from a coma and is starting to give genuinely in depth coverage to the story. The cavalry is finally coming over the hill.

The Oregonian ran this in depth review yesterday, which covered much of the items in my Monday missive:

SAIF CEO fiasco worsens as employees say their words were twisted

That article also reveals that Governor Kitzhaber's office did sign off on the Plotkin termination. Mike Bonetto, Kitzhaber’s chief of staff, sent an email to SAIF on May 8th saying the governor has “a zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment of any kind. It is our expectation that any verified allegations of this nature will be handled promptly and with appropriate action.”

Mr. Bonetto did not mention what the Governors policy was on unverified allegations. In hindsight it would have been a good question for them to ask.

This morning, The Willamette Week published what has been by far the best local coverage of the story, with this article:
House Of Cards: Documents suggest SAIF corp. fired its CEO based on “false and inaccurate” information.

That excellent article takes a much more in depth view, as well as reveals activity by former CEO Brenda Rocklin may have violated state law. Former state directors are prohibited by Oregon ethics law from interfering with their former agencies. The Willamette Week reports that the law reads, “A public official who as part of the official's duties invested public funds shall not within two years after the official ceases to hold the position…influence or try to influence the agency.”


The WW also revealed that Board Chair Travis “approached Rocklin in the days before Plotkin's firing, asking her if she'd be willing to take her old job back. Notes from the conversation show Rocklin said yes. “

The involvement of these state media organizations is absolutely critical if the Plotkin story has any chance of positive resolution. As a national blogger I could pound away on this every day, and likely would not produce any meaningful change within the state. True, I am hearing from people all over the country who are within our industry and are appalled at what has transpired in Salem. However, the employees of SAIF need their governor to actually get off his duff and act, and the only way to accomplish that is to have local media driving the story into every corner of Oregon.

That is why these stories are the biggest news of the day. The cavalry has finally arrived. Don't take this wrong when I say it, but where the hell have you guys been?


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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