Governor's top policy adviser steps down

Gina Zejdlik, senior policy adviser to Gov. Kate Brown, has stepped down after having a baby and opting not to return to the governor's office. Her August 31 departure and newly appointed successor were formally announced Tuesday.

Zejdlik, who advised the governor on public records and ethics policy, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kristen Grainger, who is Brown's communications director,  said Emily Matasar has taken over Zejdlik's public records and ethics policy responsibilities. The governor's office said in a press release Tuesday that Matasar has been reassigned to a new, "expanded" role as Brown's government accountability attorney. That adds to Matasar's current role as Brown's public records, extradition and special projects attorney. She was also a federal judicial clerk for the U.S. District Court in Oregon and holds a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

The governor's official website lists Abby Tibbs as interim policy director and senior adviser for policy and budget. Tibbs was hired by the governor in September, and comes to the office from Oregon Health & Science University, where she was associate vice president of government relations.

Zejdlik is a long-time Salem insider who has close ties to the governor. She served as Brown's chief of staff, legislative director and interim elections director while Brown was secretary of state.

When Brown ascended to the governorship in 2015, Zejdlik was tapped as her senior policy adviser. She was also involved this year with Brown's gubernatorial election campaign as a paid policy adviser, said campaign spokesman Chris Pair.

Until her resignation, she sat on Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's public records reform task force, where she advocated for principled, simple reforms to the state's bulky public records laws.

Before working for Brown, Zejdlik was deputy legislative counsel for the Oregon Legislature, where she focused on ethics, elections and redistricting law.

She holds a law degree from Notre Dame Law School and is married to Philip Bentley, a lobbyist and senior vice president of government relations for the Oregon Health Care Association. Bentley was formerly chief of staff for Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem.

Send questions, comments or news tips to gfriedman2@statesmanjournal.com or 503-399-6653. Follow on Twitter @GordonRFriedman.


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