The Office of General Counsel serves as the legal advisor to the Governor and provides legal support, services and advice to the Governor's Office. This work includes crafting policies relating to, and ensuring compliance with, Oregon's government ethics laws and rules.
The Office of General Counsel oversees the appointment process for judges and district attorneys appointed by the Governor to fill mid-term vacancies.
The Office of General Counsel serves as the primary liaison between the Governor's Office and the Oregon Judicial Department, the Oregon Department of Justice, and the Oregon State Bar. Note that the Office of General Counsel cannot provide legal advice to anyone besides the Governor.
Open and Accountable Government
Governor Brown expanded staff resources in the Office of General Counsel shortly after taking office in 2015 as part of a larger effort to restore public trust in state government. Attorneys and staff in this unit work with Governor's Office staff, legislators, and state agencies to improve the accountability and accessibility of Oregon's government. This includes developing and advocating for improved practices and policies among state agencies relating to compliance with public records and public meetings laws.
Responsibilities also encompass the daily work of acknowledging, reviewing, evaluating, and responding to public records requests made to the Office of the Governor. This work includes:
- working with requestors to define and understand the scope of public records requests
- managing and conducting the legal review of potentially responsive public records and producing responsive public records to the requestor
- posting them on the public records log maintained on the Office of the Governor's website
- making decisions regarding applicable fees or charges
The General Counsel to Governor Brown also serves as a single point of contact in the Governor's Office for issues affecting Oregon's nine federally-recognized Native American Tribes, with the goal of building strong partnerships that preserve Tribal sovereignty and foster open communication about state policies and programs that impact Oregon's Tribal communities.