Kevin Potter

For the past 32 years, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work for Douglas County, most recently functioning as the department head for four separate county departments (IT, Building Facilities, Land/Timber and Radio Communications).

During this time, it’s afforded me the great opportunity to work directly with and for 13 different county commissioners. That’s a lot of commissioners and allows me a unique perspective on how our local government operates. It’s allowed me to see the exceptional value our three full-time elected commissioner positions bring to our county, a value that many times is not fully seen or realized by the public in general. As such, I’m personally fearful that changing to a Home Rule Charter and losing full-time working commissioners to part-time volunteer positions will have a detrimental financial effect on our county.

Over the years, I’ve personally watched our full-time commissioners work long and dedicated hours to secure funding opportunities for our county that a volunteer commissioner board and single county administrator simply will not have the time to pursue. For example, during just the past two years, our community has seen the Secure Rural Schools program expire. Thankfully, due to the dedicated efforts and committed work of Commissioner Tim Freeman, the county secured a renewal of this funding for another two years, which amounted to over $31 million in funding for our county.

Following the Umpqua Community College tragedy, our three commissioners rallied, and again through diligent efforts by all three, they secured over $200,000 from the state of Oregon, and helped receive a $1.2 million grant from the federal government, all to help support local victims programs here within our county and community.

This past year, I worked with and watched Commissioner Chris Boice apply for, and receive, a $1.2 million grant from the state to invest in security infrastructure upgrades in our very own aging Douglas County Justice building. Commissioner Gary Leif has spent endless hours working with private groups to try to find a community solution to keep our libraries open. Lastly, this past budget year the commissioners and the district attorney together worked to search out, find and secure $150,000 of private community funding to forego the elimination of a deputy DA position, and the very successful Mental Health Court program, both of which provide incredibly important services to our community.

The above are only a few examples of the numerous funding opportunities and dollars our county has received through the dedicated and stalwart efforts of our full-time commissioners. There is simply no way a single county administrator and volunteer commissioner board will have the time to dedicate to pursue these types of projects. As such, most of these types of specially funded dollars coming into the county budget will be lost should the Home Rule Charter pass.

I can attest through 32 years of experience working with 13 different commissioners, all of them work very hard and long hours as full-time servants of the community to find funding opportunities. Our commissioners have a thankless job, and that’s part of the job, but do understand the incredible revenues they bring into our county budget. Please realize the revenues that will be lost should these positions go away, and join me to vote “no” on the Home Rule Charter.

Kevin Potter is the former Douglas County director of County IT, Building Facilities, Land/Timber and Radio Systems departments and retired in June after 32 years of service with the county.

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Handy Barker

An honest and sincere opinion statement from a member of the Douglas County establishment. I can't fault his opinions. The question though isn't whether the current recipients of our tax dollars are hard working or good people: it's whether our county is growing economically, using all of our resources wisely and effectively, and developing communities so rich and diverse that 100% of our kids wanna stay and settle down here. By those standards, in my 30 years in this county, we're failing desperately to diversify, re-educate, and adapt to a post-timber 21st century: when our county commissioners spend $71,000 on an "education program about killing bears" and $41,000 per minute on a pro-timber slash burning video, it's clear that our leadership is out of better ideas and is chasing its tail around the timber tree once again, hoping perhaps to turn fire slash into gold. And it won't happen. Our Home Rule Charter will at last give Douglas County a chance to bring in an educated, qualified, and, in my hope, local Douglas County professional with the knowledge, vision, and experience from other communities who've made this transition to bring us that growth, diversity, and prosperity we all want. When our county seat downtown is a food desert with a closed library, it's time for a change.

mysteron

All this opinion piece talks about are handouts. Mostly government ones. When are we going to have commissioners that look to promote revenue generation schemes in our own county rather than continuing to suck from the government teat, something many of their supporters continually disparage. Oh that's right, thanks to their efforts, marijuana growing was banned on local ranches whose predominant market would be Portland or Eugene. Unless the situation changes, this county will continue to spiral into the black hole.

Mogie

Read the article about the commissioners using money earmarked for after school programs to lobby on behalf of the timer industry via a pro-timber video. They work tirelessly for them and their buddies first and the tax payer is an after thought.

Facts don't lie

Again another uneducated comment. After school program???? You must be talking about Title 3 money from the Secure Rural Schools act. Title 3 isn't for after school programs. Also funds from the Secure Rural Schools act has dedicated funding to be used for specific things, none of them include a library. There is Title 1, 2, and 3 funds. Educate yourself beyond the title of a news paper article.

Mogie

So you are saying the article is incorrect? Perhaps you should write an opinion letter to the paper and educate the ignorant masses. We would all love for you to share your insight with us.

CannaKing

Being a public union employee (union brother) as well as a fellow P.E.R.S recipient you should recuse yourself from making ANY public statement regarding the new charter...... Just like I would expect, you do nothing but smooch / kiss / condone / cherry pick EVERYTHING these commissioners have ever done! smfh

Facts don't lie

So a person doesn't have a right to post their view since it is opposite of yours???? Anyone who uses a teenage term like "SMFH" has clearly demonstrated their education.

mysteron

The question you should perhaps be asking is whether this person is breaking any legal employment non-disclosures by effectively endorsing the commissioners. If so, this is the kind of environment that percolates around our local government. If not would you expect anything other than brown-nosing? Not exactl a credible opinion piece either way.

S

He's protecting his behind . . . he covered up more than you will ever know on behalf of Commissioners. And. . . he's moved to Portland.

Bounder86

Very well Said. The commissioners are working tirelessly for the community.

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