This question and answer session with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is from Wednesday, August 6, shortly after 11 AM. The questions are mine, except where noted otherwise.
Q: " Your reaction to the word, Pat Ford's attorney saying that he has been exonerated and he wants to come back to work?"
A: " Well, let me first say we haven't officially -- meaning the city or the URA -- been notified whatsoever by the... state ethics board. Certainly encouraged by at least Mr. Fisher's comments this morning, in terms of what the state ethics commission -- he anticipates will say. Of course, I know it's not the right thing to do to rush to judgement before any official recommendation comes down. And so we'll wait until we hear officially from the ethics commission. And of course I think it's in everybody's best interest to bring some closure to this issue and hopefully that will happen here in the very near future."
Q: " My understand is the ethics commission -- since you weren't a party to this --- actually, that because of their legal requirements can't issue a statement to you. Had they indicated that they can communicate anything to you at some point?
A: " I think they'll communicate to the URA or make their findings known, and that has not been done yet. Whether that was directly communicated to Mr. Ford or his attorney, apparently it has been, but it hasn't been communicated to us. And once we are made known of what the conclusions are, then of course we'll react to it at that time. But until that happens, I think it's in everybody's best interest to make sure that case is concluded, their recommendations are brought forward, and then decisions are made accordingly."
Q ( Jeremy Boren, Trib) " What if Mr. Fisher is correct, though and he has been exonerated, they're not going to do the full investigation?"
A: " Well, again, I want to reserve judgement until I see that, first and foremost. But I think it's in everybody's interest to bring closure to this issue and move forward. And once that recommendation comes down, we'll act accordingly. If there was no wrongdoing found from the ethics commission, then obviously we'll take that into consideration and move forward. But until I see what that is, I don't want to make any statements toward what might happen, not knowing what the ethics commission is formally going to say."
Q ( Boren, Trib) " You're not willing to say whether you'll bring him back as executive director, even if the ethics commission..?"
A: " Again, I haven't speculated for four months and, despite what his attorney reported today, I haven't been notified directly. So, if in fact this is the case, I would anticipate that we'll hear in the next couple of days. And I think once that happens, certainly we'll communicate with the URA board, being that they are the board that ultimately hires and deals with these issues. And certainly I'll communicate with them once the judgement comes down."
Q: ( Boren, Trib) " Would you leave it to the board or would you make the call?"
A: " Well, certainly I'll communicate with them. It's board action that will dictate what happens formally, so it will be their responsibility. But certainly I will, once the ethics commission investigation is concluded, I will communicate with them on what I think is the best step for the URA and for the city. "
Q: " So, is it fair or accurate to say that you don't want to be locked in to saying 'yes, he's coming back' until you have information firsthand?"
A: " That's very fair, yes. I mean, I want to make sure that despite what the attorney said this morning, I've been hearing rumors for two months now that a decision was coming tomorrow. We have the comment that was made today, and I think it's encouraging . And certainly hope that the ethics hearing board communicates with us directly, and once they do that we'll act accordingly. But until I have that information from the ethics commission -- board -- directly, I want to reserve my judgement until then."
Q: ( Boren, Trib) " When you say 'encouraging', are you glad this could be the case, that he has been exonerated and that there's...?"
A: " Well, sure. You know, of course it's in everybody's interest to make sure there was no wrongdoing or nothing that was done inappropriately. And so if the ethics commission drew that conclusion, I think that's great news for everybody. And it's encouraging toward putting this issue to closure."
Q: ( Boren, Trib) " Have you talked to Pat?"
A: " I haven't, no."
Q: " Would there be any reason -- other reason -- why he could not come back if the ethics commission says 'all clear'?"
A: " As far as I see it, you know, again, if, for example, there was no wrongdoing done, then the URA board would ultimately have to decide. I don't see any grounds at that point for any further action. But again, before we say that, we want to make sure we get their remarks."
Q: ( Boren, Trib) " Will you let us know when you do?"
A: " I will, yeah."