The Douglas County Board of Commissioners appointed Dan Loomis as interim Douglas County clerk on Wednesday.

Loomis replaces Patricia Hitt, who retired Sept. 30, before her term was up.

The county clerk oversees local elections and vital records. Loomis will serve in the position until a permanent clerk, to be chosen by voters in 2020, takes office in January 2021.

That might end up being him as well. Currently, Loomis is also the only person who has filed to run for clerk in the election.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Douglas County and all the citizens here. This is a great county,” he said shortly after being selected.

Loomis said the Oregon Constitution called for the clerk to be the very first county official to be installed.

“I’m excited to be in that role, and I’m excited to work with all the great professional subject matter experts that are downstairs there in the county clerk’s office,” he said.

He said he would lean on their expertise to help him climb the steep hill of training as county clerk. He said this will be a good transition step if he ends up being elected for the permanent post.

“What better way to become the elected county clerk than to have 15 months of training in doing it?” he said.

Loomis was sworn in by South County Justice of the Peace Machelle Briggs-Mayfield at a brief ceremony Wednesday afternoon, during which Loomis said he was inspired to become involved after a legislator mentioned the idea of a second service after military service. He said after that he decided he shouldn’t simply retire and do nothing.

Loomis currently serves on the Douglas County Parks Advisory Board and is chairman of the Douglas County Veterans Service Office Advisory Committee.

He grew up in Douglas County, graduated from Roseburg High School in 1985, and currently lives in Umpqua.

He is a workforce development manager at Umpqua Economic Development Partnership and an Army veteran who served as an aircraft mechanic and rose through the ranks to become a chief warrant officer. He has also been a government aircraft accident investigator.

Loomis launched a campaign for Douglas County commissioner in 2018 but dropped out partway through the race and threw his support to Tom Kress, who ultimately won the election.

Kress was not in attendance Wednesday, but the two other commissioners, Tim Freeman and Chris Boice, voted unanimously to appoint Loomis as county clerk.

Loomis was chosen from three applicants, all of whom were interviewed in a public meeting last week. The other two applicants are both current employees in the Douglas County Clerk’s Office.

One, Rosemarie Wess, is the chief deputy clerk. She had been mentioned by Hitt as her preferred replacement. Wess has said she does not intend to run in the election.

Wess said Wednesday afternoon she was very disappointed by the commissioners’ decision, and she has tendered her resignation.

“I’m extremely disappointed. It has nothing to do with the candidate. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job once he gets into the office,” she said.

She wished Loomis success, but said she was surprised that neither of the experienced candidates was selected.

The other applicant, Andrew Taylor, is the office manager.

Taylor said he felt it was important to make sure Loomis gets the training he needs to do the job. He said he didn’t have much to say about the commissioners’ decision and wasn’t certain yet if he would file to run in the election.

“I think that’s a little too new to call at this point. I think now the important thing is to make sure that Dan gets the training he needs in order to do the job as interim,” he said. “It is what the board chose.”

Boice said during Wednesday’s meeting that he was grateful to have more than one choice and that all three applicants were great. He said he has had a great working relationship with Hitt, Wess and others in the clerk’s office. But he also said it was good to have a transparent process and open the position up to all applicants.

“I think it was important to see who might be out there who’s not only willing to, but wants to serve in this position. And also again to ultimately at the end of the day have the voters decide who they have.”

He said he considered the transition in the office, the specialized nature of the position, and the fact that the person serving as clerk needs expertise in vital documents and elections.

“Having folks down there who understand all of the responsibilities and the processes to do that is important, and having that knowledge transitioning through an election is also important. So in my mind, I think the best possible transition is one where we have some institutional knowledge that’s going to stay through the election,” he said.

He said Loomis has a great resume, including a lot of civic engagement and leadership and management skills and an interest in serving as clerk long term.

Freeman said, ultimately, the voters will decide who fills the role. He said he was comfortable with Boice’s recommendation.

Freeman also said Hitt had been a fantastic clerk for a very long time.

“I want to take just a minute and thank Patty for all her years of service here, and want to let her know how much we appreciate her,” Freeman said.

Boice explained that if one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the May primary, he or she will win the election outright. If none do, the top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election. Freeman said if two or fewer file to run, the election will be held in November rather than in May.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(8) comments

Roseburg Reader

The commissioners continue to show their stupidity in every way. The best person to do this job is the one who has the most experience. I agree with what everyone else has said here. And as far as “leaving it up to the voters “, didn’t the commissioners INSIST on making this appointment? They praise Patty Hitt for the excellent job she did, but didn’t trust her judgment on who she felt would be her most qualified replacement. Well, this voter is definitely going to decide on who ISN’T commissioner when the time comes.

Connerth

When they interviewed the candidates for the interim commissioner position, the terrible two, Freeman and Boice, decided that anyone running for commissioner could not be an interim commissioner because that would give them the advantage of being the incumbent. Guess they changed their very small minds this time. Now Loomis gets to run as the incumbent. This is what happens when you kiss their wide behinds !

smedleyb

If hypocrisy was a cash crop our county budget would be flush!!

smedleyb

Here is the tell tale part of this story.



""I'm excited to be in that role, and I'm excited to work with all the great professional subject matter experts that are downstairs there in the County Clerk's Office," he said.

He said he would lean on their expertise to help him climb the steep hill of training as county clerk."

If they already know how to do the job why not hire them to do the job?

Umpquabob

It is painfully obvious the commissioners don't have a clue regarding the responsibilities of the County Clerk. They also fail to support the county's employees striving to progress in their job.



There are 3 commissioners and if one is useless, the other two pick up the slack, which has been done in the past. With a County Clerk, there is only one chance to get it right and it is critical to do so when one considers the current distrust of the election process.



Can you imagine hiring a person to run your gas station or tire shop who has never had their own business and knows nothing about those businesses except his car has tires (don't know how many) and they think their car uses gas or diesel or electricity or ..... .



Poor decision Commissioners and it should haunt you at your next election. No wonder the county is having financial problems.

nr77

Not saying this fellow can't do the job, but the clerk did recommend her long time second in command person that has the experience whereas this fellow has none. Not in the best interest of county voters.

S

Well, we at least can say one thing about the Douglas County Board of Commissioners they are consistent in their idiotic decision-making. Dan Loomis may be a nice guy; however, he doesn't have one ounce of experience, the credentials or any understanding of the functions of the Douglas County Clerk's office. The Commissioners made a grave mistake in this appointment and it will be very evident in the days to come . . .

Amcconne

I think the commissioners should refrain from calling the appointment process INTERVIEWING. If this were a REAL job interview, I feel like the person with the most direct experience should've received the position, like the persons already working in clerks office for years.... This "appointment" process shows far from acceptable decision making skills, hiring skills, and the ability to select individuals who would benefit the BUSINESS (as they call the government) with the skills they can bring to the table of operations. From a business perspective, which they touted in elections that they have. I give this whole charade a big fat F. Nothing against Dan, great guy, but seriously.....this is embarrassing.

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