BEND, Ore. - Just a year before firing Bend Police Chief Jeff Sale, City Manager Eric King had mostly positive things to say about his performance, according to an evaluation provided Thursday to NewsChannel 21.
King has an annual performance review process for department heads, including Sale.
But King told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday he began an internal investigation of the department last month, interviewing employees and community partners to get "an assessment of the culture" -- one he found to be unproductive, unable to deal with issues and suffering from bad morale.
As a result, he said, "You step in, you make changes and you move forward."
However, looking at the review from a year ago, you would have never guessed there was a reason for change. The city manager gave Sale almost all 4's and 5's, meaning he exceeded job standards or was outstanding.
King told NewsChannel 21 Thursday that in Sale's second year, "At first there was a lot of excitement about his vision, but as time went on, the support began to erode."
"The expectation I have, of all my department heads, wasn't being met," King said.
However, King admits there still were some positives this year.
"You know, the focus on technology, a clear vision, trying to recover some revenue," King said.
But what's a clear vision with little support from the department and poor internal communication?
"What was lacking was the focus on building a team environment," King said.
King told us he was about to start this year's review, but recent crises in the department -- another unsolved bank robbery, an officer-involved shooting, the sex scandal involving former Lieutenant Chris Carney and more -- showed a more immediate response was necessary.
After interviewing people both inside and outside of the department, King said found these crises in a compressed period of time brought to light communication problems with the chief.
"We didn't have the right culture, and there was a problem," King said.
It's a problem they hope to start to solve with interim Police Chief Jim Porter