Increased funding for EPD allegedly due to spousal conflict of interest
Community members raise concerns about corruption and lack of oversight over EPD funding outside of ordinary budget process
At an April 26 public Eugene City Council meeting, a group of concerned locals presented recently uncovered information and alleged a conflict of interest that resulted in millions of tax dollars funneling into the Eugene Police Department.
The Director of the Eugene Police Foundation, Irene Alltucker, is married to Kevin Alltucker, a manager for the Community Safety Initiative.
According to the front page of the EPF’s webpage, their goal is to “support the overall performance capability of the Eugene Police Department by providing financial and organizational support.”
Kevin Alltucker began managing the CSI in 2018—before the council passed a seven-year-long ordinance “to fund community safety services with a payroll tax.” This 2019 ordinance effectively taxes everyone in the city with an income.
“All employees earning wages and salaries within the City of Eugene would pay the employee portion of the payroll tax – including public employees.” According to the county’s website.
Irene Alltucker is the director of the EPF whose main objective is to fund EPD with outside sources — outside of normal budgetary procedures. Kevin Alltucker manages the CSI and is capable of granting funds to the EPD due to his position.
According to estimations, this new ordinance would generate 23.6 million dollars annually. 65 percent of that sum is to be allocated to the EPD, while the homeless crisis is receiving 7 percent.
As a result of this, concerned citizens suspect there may be grand oversight within Eugene’s City Council in not catching this alleged conflict of interest.
“The reality is, even when I was part of city staff, I had no idea who was married to whom or who had what relationships,” Councilor Robert Groves said. “It’s a big organization and it’s impossible to know all these issues and, anyway, we’ve heard the City Attorney talk about that a little as well.”
Kathryn Brotherton, the City Attorney, spoke earlier when Councilor Matt Keating asked for clarification on what would be considered a conflict of interest. She said that in both cases of conflicts of interest—potential or actual—that they have to involve financial or monetary benefit or detriment.
Double Sided Media has reached out to the members of the City Council and is awaiting responses.
The following is the Oregon State Law and the Oregon Government Ethics Commission guidelines concerning conflicts of interest.
According to Oregon State Law, ORS 244.020(1), an actual conflict of interest is defined as:
“Any action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which would be to the private pecuniary benefit or detriment of the person or the person’s relative or any business with which the person or a relative of the person is associated…”
A potential conflict of interest, ORS 244.020(13) is defined as:
“Any action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which could be to the private pecuniary benefit or detriment of the person or the person’s relative, or a business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated…”
Exemptions to either actual or potential conflicts of interest are defined in sub-section (13) and include:
- “An interest or membership in a particular business, industry, occupation or other class required by law as a prerequisite to the holding by the person of the office or position.”
- “Any action in the person’s official capacity which would affect to the same degree a class consisting of all inhabitants of the state, or a smaller class consisting of an industry, occupation or other group including one of which or in which the person, or the person’s relative or business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, is a member or is engaged.”
- “Membership in or membership on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation that is tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.”
Following cases of conflicts of interest, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission says:
“The announcement needs to be made on each occasion the conflict of interest is met.For example, an elected member of the city council would have to make the public announcement one time during a meeting of the city council. If the matter giving rise to the conflict of interest is raised at another meeting, the disclosure must be made again at that meeting. An employee in a city planning department would have to give a separate written notice on each occasion they participate in official action on a matter that gives rise to a conflict of interest [ORS 244.120(3)].”