May 25 Editoria: Bruce Ludwig and City Manager Bob Francis should work out their differences

May 25, 2011

Police Chief Bruce Ludwig will meet with City Manager Bob Francis Friday to talk about Ludwig's employment future.

Ludwig might be let go or be put back on as full-time police chief, or he could choose to resign. Francis said Friday the result will depend on whether Ludwig can show Francis the two men are not in wide disagreement over "management goals and philosophies," which, according to Ludwig, was the reason Francis gave him in placing Ludwig on leave May 12.

(Notably, Ludwig has placed himself further into the public eye with his announcement May 20 that he plans to run for Hood River County Sheriff in May 2012.)

Francis said Monday that Ludwig has been placed on administrative leave for a personnel matter, not the other way around, but he declined to elaborate, saying that it is in the city's, as well as Ludwig's, interests to reserve comment.

Francis also notes that Ludwig has publicly stated he has consulted an attorney, making him, Francis, guarded about public comment on the situation.

However, without a better reason for setting Ludwig on the sidelines beyond differing "management goals and philosophies," Francis should send Ludwig back to work as chief.

What does "differing management goals and philosophies" actually mean?

The phrase, which is all Francis has publicly acknowledged, seems either euphemistic or intentionally vague. In any case, but especially that of a public safety employee, clear language is important. Ludwig should be put back to work.

Francis stated that there is "no formal investigation" of any kind on any of Ludwig's actions as police chief.

Were employees or the public at risk because Ludwig had some differing views or priorities? If so, the public should be clued in, not kept guessing.

If there are personnel matters that make it impossible for Ludwig to do the job of police chief, that won't be changed by a Friday sit-down in which Ludwig somehow convinces Francis they are on the same management philosophy page.

The administrative leave action is a nebulous one. Ludwig is not being accused of wrong-doing. The reason for his limbo status is vague and undefined. It all raises more questions than it answers.

Certainly a rift between a police chief and a superior is a serious matter, and it is understandable if the city is genuinely unable to discuss the situation; rules pertaining to personnel are there for a reason.

Except there had apparently been no pending reprimand or penalty precipitating Ludwig's placement on leave, so what is to discuss beyond what appears to be a personality conflict?

If Bob Francis and Bruce Ludwig differ on goals and objectives for the police department, it's a matter of public interest.

The best thing for Francis and Ludwig to talk about Friday is how they can work out their differences and move on, together, to more important business.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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