I recently dedicated the time to read the new county charter, 10-159. I also read county counsel’s opinion of what would happen if the charter should pass.
The appointment process for replacement of commissioner’s is something that is very concerning to me. The way I read it, if the new charter passes, at least one duly elected, by the people, county commissioner will be forced out of office because of the new charter district map mandates.
The sole person with the authority to appoint our new county commissioner is none other than Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who is nationally recognized as one of the most politically radical governors in the entire United States.
There is a very real possibility that one or more of the two remaining county commissioners could choose to resign due to the radical change in how our county government is forced to operate moving forward. This would mean that Kate Brown would potentially be the person who selects three out of five county commissioners as we potentially move forward into a new form of county government.
So now we’ve gone from a board of commissioners who we all had a choice in electing, to a board completely chosen by a Portland-based radical.
Some may say those outcomes are just assumptions, but if we honestly ask ourselves if you or I would stay in a job that suddenly cut 90 percent of our salary and all of our benefits, as working-age individuals, would we stay in that job?
A job where our community, as a whole, almost never seems satisfied with the tough decisions we have tasked our county commissioners with making. So, we’re talking about a job with almost zero pay, no benefits and most everybody is collectively angry at you. I think we all know what we would choose to do.
The next, but equal concern I have with this proposed charter is that it forces us as a community to pay an estimated $260,000-plus, salary and benefits package to a newly charter-mandated “county administrator.” An individual, by charter mandate, cannot be someone who has worked for Douglas County within the last two years. When you fully read Chapter IV, Section 2, of the charter, it almost entirely eliminates, that any citizen from Douglas County could hope to qualify to be the individual who will be our new “non-elected, non-term limited” county manager. This person will have the authority to hire and fire every single county employee as mandated in Home-Rule Charter chapter IV, Section 2, subsection (5), which states that this person “shall be responsible for the employment and termination of All county employees, for All departments of the county”. No single person should ever have that kind of unchecked power, my friends.
My third, final and greatest concern is that it is undisputable that current general county law protects Sheriff John Hanlin or any other sheriff in the future from ever being directed by the current or future board of county commissioners to do anything that he feels is not in the best interest of the community he is sworn to protect. This new charter changes that completely.
In conclusion, I would ask you to read the charter for yourself. Weigh these facts and potential outcomes to help make the best decision on how you will vote on the new charter.