Chief Operating Officer Leaves County

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EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County Chief Operating Officer Madilyn Zike is moving on from Lane County as she begins her new role with the state of Oregon.

The move comes only months after the county’s decision to launch an internal pre-audit, stemming from the most recent allegations against her boss former Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson.

Zike announced her departure at the beginning of December. She’ll take on her new role as chief human resources officer for the state of Oregon next week.

But before she left, the county announced it would conduct a pre-audit after the most recent allegations surfaced that Richardson allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a city of Eugene police officer and placed him on a county committee.

Zike began working for the county in May 2010, making nearly $107,000. During her first year of working for the county, Zike received two pay raises. Both were about 4 percent.

Over two years later, in July 2012, she assumed a new merged position–chief operating officer and human resources director–delegated by her boss former Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson.

It’s a role that came with a significant pay raise–a 14-percent spike, or about $16,000. That role merged Zike’s current duties with the county’s finance, facilities and county clerk’s office.

But according to the Lane County Administrative Procedures Manual, if there are substantial pay raises over 4 percent, the board must be notified.

“Everything in the budget is the responsibility of the board. Line items in the budget are very difficult for any board member to actually look at every single line item. And I’m not dodging behind that. You know for me if I have no reason to distrust a process, then I don’t dig too deep into it,” said Lane County Board Chair Pat Farr.

Farr says the board doesn’t pay attention to pay raises on a regular basis.

Even though this happened when the county was having budget issues, Farr says it’s nearly impossible for commissioners to know every detail.

“Putting it in perspective, every dollar is huge, but in terms of a $300 million budget, every single dollar cannot be scrutinized by every county commissioner,” said Farr.

Farr says it is the responsibility of the county administrator to alert the board of such pay raises, but it doesn’t fall solely on her shoulders.

Since Zike’s departure, the county has eliminated the chief operating officer position after recommendations from Moss Adams, the county’s external auditor.

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