PORTLAND, Ore. – A law firm representing former Portland Public Schools superintendent finalist Donyall Dickey has declined to release Dickey’s background report, saying information in the report could cause Dickey “potentially serious harm.”
KGW and other media organizations requested the background report after Dickey removed himself from consideration for the district’s top job earlier this month.
At the time, the district said it accepted Dickey’s decision and they agreed he was “not the best fit,” according to PPS Board chair Tom Koehler.
Koehler declined to explain exactly why Dickey removed himself from consideration, but contract negotiations had not yet been completed. Dickey also expressed interest in continuing outside consulting work.
A background report may have also influenced Dickey’s withdrawal. Dickey’s lawyer, Thomas Johnson, wrote a letter to PPS asking the board not to release the report following media requests.
“That report contains numerous details about Dr. Dickey’s history, including aged incidents that resulted in criminal and civil judgments against Dr. Dickey. Although these incidents occurred years ago, and were minor in nature, the specifics presented in the report, and the associated narrative regarding those events, are highly personal, and would tend to cause embarrassment and harm to Dr. Dickey’s professional reputation if they were made public,” the letter said.
Johnson said the report could cause “potentially serious harm to Dr. Dickey.”
Johnson also argued that since Dickey has removed himself from consideration for the superintendent position, the report is exempt from Oregon public records law. PPS agreed and declined to release the report.
Dickey was the sole finalist for the superintendent job. The district is re-starting its superintendent search, nearly a year after former superintendent Carole Smith resigned amid a district-wide lead scandal. Interim superintendent Bob McKean’s contract ends in June, and Deputy CEO Yousef Awwad will act as superintendent until a new district leader is found.