The Oregon State Police is investigating three Oregon Department of Transportation employees for potential theft.

The three employees are:

Frank C. Smead, Region 1 Landscape Manager. Start date: 10/1/1997. Smead is a Principal Executive Manager B with a monthly salary of $6,683. The department has placed Smead on unpaid administrative leave.

John Wayne Tipton, Region 1 Transportation Maintenance Coordinator. Start date: 5/19/2003. Monthly salary $5,056. Tipton has submitted a letter of resignation effective Friday, February 21, 2020.

Autumn Arndt, Region 1, Operations & Policy Analyst 2. Start date: 11/01/2006. Salary: $6,415. Arndt has submitted a letter of resignation and no longer works for the department.

All were employed at the Lawnfield ODOT Maintenance Station in Clackamas, Oregon.

 “We do not condone this kind of behavior in any way, shape, or form,” said ODOT Director Kris Strickler.

Director Strickler has ordered several internal measures to ensure the soundness of ODOT’s financial controls, and to help prevent similar incidents. These measures include:

  • Re-purposing staff in ODOT’s Central Authorization Unit to provide more close oversight and auditing of purchases
  • Engaging an outside entity to help the department discover vulnerabilities in our financial controls and find ways to close those loopholes
  • Explore ways to improve the agency’s inventory control system

“The public has placed in us a trust to spend state transportation dollars with integrity,” said Director Strickler. “If proven true, these three employees violated that trust. We as an organization own this and we are making changes right now to put better monitoring tools in place,” said Strickler.

Because this is an ongoing investigation, the agency cannot reveal details of the allegations at this time. The department may also pursue the option of civil remedies.

This investigation is expected to take several months to complete. OSP is working with the Clackamas County District Attorney’s office and none of the individuals involved have been charged with any crimes to date.

ODOT is assisting OSP and cooperating with the investigation through the production of records and information to help determine the overall loss.

Additional information will be released when appropriate and through consultation with the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office.

-Based on press release from ODOT