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Published: Thursday, 10/8/2009

2 Oregon councilmen press police inquiry

Gulch Gulch
LUCAS MOBLEY / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Believing Oregon’s former police chief can further aid a misconduct investigation of the mayor’s city police officer son, two councilmen want to remove a section of Thomas Gulch’s separation agreement barring him from portraying the city administration “in a negative light.”

Oregon City Coun cil is to vote Monday on proposed legislation sponsored by Councilman Bill Myers and supported by Councilman Mike Seferian that would allow Mr. Gulch to speak out about an investigation into Jeffrey Brown’s behavior in recent years.

Patrolman Brown, 39, is being suspended without pay for 20 days, half this month and half in January, for illegally using a statewide law enforcement data base to search for information about a former girlfriend. Allegations about the 10-year department veteran having sexual relations with another girlfriend while on duty were dismissed.

Councilman Seferian is run ning against Mayor Marge Brown, Officer Brown’s mother, in the Nov. 3 election for Oregon’s top executive post. But the operator of a small business said yesterday his motive is to get as much information about Officer Brown into the open as possible, not advance his campaign.

Said Councilman Seferian about information Mr. Gulch may have: “How could we not want to know it?”

Mayor Brown maintains she’s never gotten involved with police department investigations involving her son, and she disputed Mr. Seferian’s motives. “This is politically motivated, and the council floor is no place to discuss personnel issues,” she said.

According to a police department report on Officer Brown released last month, Mr. Gulch conducted an investigation into his conduct several years ago. Mr. Gulch’s report cannot be found by Oregon police, so an allegation that Officer Brown had sexual contact with a former girlfriend while on duty — which he denied — was dismissed, the report released last month stated.

Mr. Gulch, who now is a manager in the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, indicated yesterday he would answer questions about the investigation into Officer Brown’s conduct if the restriction in his separation agreement was removed. “Any question put to me, I will respond with a truthful answer,” he said.

Councilmen Myers and Seferian said yesterday they don’t know what information Mr. Gulch has about the investigation.

It is unlikely Mr. Gulch did not do an investigation and issue a report, and the results should be made public, Mr. Myers said.

“It seems to me the public has the right to know as soon as possible,” Mr. Myers said.

Mr. Gulch likely is especially wary about not violating his separation agreement because he has a lawsuit pending against Oregon, Mr. Seferian said.

In September, 2008, less than four months after leaving the department, Mr. Gulch filed suit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court seeking $36,934.48 worth of accrued sick leave.

Mayor Brown had “let it be known” in late 2007 she wanted to replace Mr. Gulch as chief, so he opted to retire effective May 31, 2008, court documents show.

Oregon has contended Mr. Gulch did not actually retire, so it does not owe him the money, according to court documents.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:jmckinnon@theblade.comor 419-724-6087.

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