HR police chief Ludwig placed on paid administrative leave

May 13, 2011

Hood River Police Chief Bruce Ludwig was placed on paid administrative leave Friday morning by City Administrator Bob Francis, and will meet again with Francis May 27 to discuss his future with the department.

"I can't really go into details because it's a personnel matter," Francis said when contacted Friday morning.

While Ludwig is on leave, Sgt. Neal Holste will serve as the acting chief.

"They need to know they are in capable hands with Sgt. Holste until a decision has been made," Francis said of the city's police force.

When asked to respond to a report on Stu Watson's Hood River Biz Buzz Blog that he was out as police chief, Ludwig said he was still the police chief, had not been asked to resign, and referred further questions to Francis regarding his future with the department.

When contacted again later, Ludwig said the only reason he was given for his leave was that "management goals and philosophies" differed between himself, Francis and Mayor Arthur Babitz.

Ludwig said he was surprised by the decision but had hints something was coming.

"Over the past few months Bob (Francis) has said the mayor wanted him to fire me," Ludwig said.

Hood River mayor Arthur Babitz said the decision to place Ludwig on leave was ultimately up to Francis.

"No. This is Bob's (Francis) decision," Babitz said Friday at noon when asked about Ludwig's claim that Babitz had advocated for Ludwig's departure. "I leave it to Bob to make decisions on his management and who he can and cannot work with. I don't tell Bob he should work with this person or not work with that person. It is up to Bob to make decisions about his management team."

Ludwig said he wants to remain the head of the department and will be considering how to do that over the next two weeks until he meets with Francis again.

"I am consulting with an attorney and weighing my options," he said. "I feel I have a lot of skills to offer this community and it's going to be the community that will suffer through this."

Francis said the decision had nothing to do with talks between the department and Hood River County Sherriff's department over merging some operations.

"Those are two totally separate things," Francis said.

Francis will be on vacation for the next week, but said that when he and Ludwig meet again, the chief will have an opportunity to present his case for remaining with the department.

"It just something where we have to sit down and talk and see what's best for the city," he said.

Ludwig, 60, was hired in 2005. He came to Hood River from Redmond, where he was the administrative captain for the police department there. Ludwig was chosen from a field of 25 candidates and hired at a $70,000 annual salary.

Ludwig took over June 1, 2005, from interim chief Matt Fine, who came out of retirement after Kevin Lynch resigned in December 2004.

In announcing the hire in a May 7, 2005, story in the Hood River News, Francis said: "He's very community-oriented and that is one of the strengths that really attracted us to him. Mr. Ludwig has a really good presence and I think he's going to give us the type of leadership that we need in the department."

With Joe Petshow and Kirby Neumann-Rea

Details of this story were first reported in the Hood River Biz Buzz blog:

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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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