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Gov. Brown's office announces pick for new Public Records Advocate

Governor Brown's office announced a new Public Records Advocate, 10 months after the previous official resigned — citing inference from the executive.

Posted: Jul 10, 2020 12:11 PM
Updated: Jul 10, 2020 12:24 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown's office on Friday announced the new pick for Oregon's Public Records Advocate, 10 months after the previous and first-ever appointee offered her resignation, citing interference from Brown's staff.

Ginger McCall was the state's first appointee for Public Records Advocate, a position that Governor Brown fought to create. The position was supposed to work on creating greater government transparency and accountability for Oregon's state agencies and elected officials.

McCall announced her resignation in September of 2019, saying that she was subjected to "abuse of authority" by members of Brown's staff who insisted on substantial oversight for her work. Her claims ignited controversy that largely blew back on Brown and the Governor's General Counsel, Misha Isaak.

Brown ultimately took responsibility for the situation, promising to take McCall's thoughts into account going forward. McCall's deputy, Todd Albert, became interim Public Records Advocate.

On Friday, Brown's office announced that the Public Records Advisory council had interviewed candidates for the position and nominated a panel of three finalists. The Governor's office chose Becky Chiao — former deputy ombudsman for the City of Portland and longtime City claims analyst.

“Ms. Chiao brings a background rooted in problem-solving, advocacy, and facilitated resolution — all of which are critical to the functions of the Public Records Advocate,” said Governor Brown. “I am pleased she will be taking on this important role. I would like to thank the members of the Public Records Advisory Council for their work in the recruitment and interview process.”

Chiao formerly served as a staff attorney for the National Immigration Law Center. She received her bachelor’s degree from Reed College in Portland, and her law degree from the City University of New York School of Law in Flushing, New York.

Chiao has worked for the City of Portland since 2001. Her most recent position falls within the City's Risk Management division, where she works under the umbrella of liability and subrogation.

The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, but Chaio's appointment is ostensibly effective August 3.


NOTE: A photo of Becky Chiao was not immediately available. Pictured in this article is former appointee Ginger McCall.

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