slides: INVESTIGATION: Cylvia Hayes Plagiarized Portions of Her Consulting Report
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Hayes was paid tens of thousands of dollars to write a report intended to provide a roadmap for job growth in green industries in Oregon.
Hayes’ consulting firm, 3E Strategies, was approved by Oregon’s Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development to author the Green Jobs Growth Plan: 2011-2019 report, published in October, 2010.
GoLocalPDX found seven distinct passages in the 116-page report that were copied, verbatim, without attribution, from the 2009 Workforce Oregon report The Greening of Oregon’s Workforce: Jobs, Wages and Training, published by the Oregon Employment Department (OED).
Slides below: Cylvia Hayes' Plagiarism
“It’s textbook plagiarism because there’s quotes and paraphrasing without proper attribution,” said Ben Gaskins, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lewis and Clark College.
‘Greedy with shortcuts’
“[Hayes and her firm 3E Strategies] got greedy with the shortcuts and created a minor ethical quandary,” said plagiarism consultant Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today. “They could have just paraphrased it and no one would have noticed,” Bailey said.
Hayes, the self-proclaimed First Lady of Oregon, who is now the subject of both an Oregon Ethics Commission review and an investigation by the Oregon Attorney General, was the lead author of the report.
“Were Hayes a lead author on the 2009 OED report, she might have some room to claim that she is simply interpreting data the same way in two different venues,” said Gaskins.
“Given that she is clearly not a part of that earlier effort, nor are any of the people listed on the 2010 Plan, she has absolutely no ability to say that this is anything other than plagiarism,” Gaskins said.
Of the identical passages taken by Hayes and 3E Strategies in their report from Workforce Oregon’s previously published work, none are in quotations.
“She was commissioned to do her own work, and this would seem to run afoul of that,” said Bailey.
Because the state owns the OED report, it is not copyrighted, and is free to use. Still, Bailey argues it betrays "lazy writing," along with secondary source plagiarism.
The 2010 green jobs report provided Hayes with a springboard from which she went on to win several -- now notorious -- environmental consulting contracts.
Plagiarism not illegal
Workforce Analyst Will Summers with the Oregon Employment Department worked on the 2009 OED report, paid for in house by the state.
Summers said any work done by the state is in the public domain and can legally be used by an outside contractor commissioned by the state, even if that contractor is doing it for a profit, as was the case with Hayes.
Hayes did not break the law in lifting passages verbatim, Summers said.
“I wince because in that sense it’s not cool, but nothing there is illegal, just bad form,” Summers said.
He said there were too many “green” reports to keep track of at the time, but likely, the Department of State Colleges and Workforce Development wanted additional information that the 2009 Workforce report hadn’t provided.
“If they didn’t give the original authors credit, that’s unethical,” Summers said.
Still, it remains unclear which organization owns the content when the state pays an outside contractor, who uses state-owned material.
Lewis and Clark’s Gaskins maintains failing to cite another author’s work is problematic, given Hayes’ high profile as an environmental consultant, and as a former adviser to the Governor.
Gaskins asked, “She’s made it to this level and really doesn’t understand what plagiarism is?”
Related Slideshow: Cylvia Hayes’ Plagiarism
A GoLocalPDX investigation into the writings of Cylvia Hayes found that portions of the Green Jobs Growth Plan: 2011-2019 report were plagiarized from a pre-existing state report.
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