Marion County officials say an audit of its workplace culture, stemming in part from sexual harassment allegations that surfaced last fall, is officially underway.

Marion County commissioners in early March gave the contract to Clarity Scientific, a Beaverton-based corporation. Costs aren't to exceed $30,000.

The firm will survey, interview and hold focus groups with county employees to "examine the county's cultural characteristics" to find out how "current organizational culture impacts service delivery," according to a request for proposal provided to Salem Reporter in December.

Filings with the Oregon Secretary of State's office shows Clarity Scientific was founded in 2017. President MacKenna Perry could not be reached for comment.

Clarity Scientific has already started interviewing workers, said Lisa Trauernicht, senior policy analyst for the county. The firm is expected to finish the audit by the end of summer.

Marion County leaders announced the audit in early October in the wake of public accusations of sexual harassment.

The county conducts audits at least once a year, said spokeswoman Jolene Kelley. She said in an email that the information learned "is used to improve our operations and service delivery."

"Marion County regularly reviews its programs and services to ensure quality and continual improvement," Kelley said in a statement. "The county determined it was appropriate to conduct a cultural assessment in light of concerns that were brought forward."

Trish Stephens, organizer at the Service Employees International Union Local 503, which represents many of the county's workers, said she was hopeful yet cautious.

"What could be said is the county is in the beginning stages of the cultural audit," Stephens said. "There is a lot of work to do."

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, troy@salemreporter.com, or @TroyWB.

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