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It’s all about getting around public meetings law , oh yeah, and control

It’s all about getting around public meetings law , oh yeah, and control

Interestingly, the structure advisory committee never interviewed the commissioners even though the source of all county dysfunction can probably be traced directly to their lack of management and inexperience in public administration. Instead of making recommendations to the commissioners such as entrusting their department heads to manage their own budgets, (regular BOC meeting attendees already knew about the micromanagement), or on how to better facilitate communication between the departments, the committee would rather just bypass process and toss the entire “unmanageable” administrative workload of three commissioners onto to one unelected manager. One of the advantages to this system, according to the committee, appears to be that a manager can make decisions and poll the commissioners outside of public view without violating Oregon’s public meetings law. Presently, the commissioners may not discuss county matters between themselves unless the public is first informed and allowed to be present for the deliberations.

192.620 Policy. The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly. [1973 c.172 §1]

The corporate mindset that dominates the committee is unable to make the distinction between making quick decisions that effect a quarterly return for a handful of shareholders vs the management of public treasure that belongs to future generations. In their minds, public process is too unwieldy to involve the electorate and so the establishment of a czar, the same failed management system we have at the Port of Coos Bay is the obvious answer to securing ORC mineral leases and Wagon Road agreements, etc…

One of the structure committee members, Al Pettit, is confident that consolidating different departments would more than make up for the cost of hiring this new czar but shared no budgetary analysis in his power point that supports his supposition. Additionally, there has been no risk assessment to weigh the potential for success or possible consequences and in truth, the concept success was not clearly defined. How will hiring a czar solve upcoming revenue shortfalls or save the county from insolvency?

From a political science perspective this has been a fascinating process to watch. Commissioner Main has clearly lost control of the very board he handpicked and the committee has now taken an adversarial position to Main and found support from the local paper. What this indicates to me is that someone with chamber “cred” will soon file to oppose Main in the next election. The paper will continue to pound away on Main, although not for the things he deserves a pounding, and will ignore candidate Randy Sanne’s obvious leadership skills and unimpeachable understanding of the budgets and ultimately support someone with little or no public administration experience just like the two appointed commissioners we have now.

Committee co-chairs Pettit and Jon Barton acknowledged their anti-government bias when admitting surprise that the county is not “bloated like all other government” and that the staff actually “work hard”. It appears from watching them they make many other ill advised assumptions, one being that if someone isn’t a chamber member they must have no prior corporate experience. This is obvious in Pettit’s presentation when he talks about things like the “silo management” style as if it is an accurate description of what happens at the county, (debatable) and further as if silos inevitably lead to failure, (not true).* Barton and Pettit should be wary that there are many local, active and retired corporate executives with extensive management experience who read and see what they promote and recognize the shallowness of their analysis. They are wrong to underestimate the knowledge and breadth of experience of their audience simply because some haven’t joined the local club.

*A silo is an organizational unit that has established itself in a high-influence core position within the value network of a specific business model, by reliably and efficiently adding clearly-defined and measurable value to any appropriate embedding business process, and offers essential services that satisfy demand from more than one mission critical process.

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About magix

When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.


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7 Responses to "It’s all about getting around public meetings law , oh yeah, and control"

  1. magix  December 11, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Yes, nobody actually knows what Bob does everyday but I think it is funny that the structure committee thinks it is important to have someone with business experience on the commission and yet two of the board claim to be experienced businessmen and yet have failed miserably to administer their departments properly. Fred appears to only have worked in the family business and Parry, well who knows what he has actually done – even people well known in wetlands restoration know very little about him.

    Maybe, since government cannot and should not be run like a business for reasons I have detailed in the past, what we really need are people experienced in public administration who don’t pass off their duties to citizen committees.

  2. aghast!  December 10, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Rumor is Bob is furious but has no idea what to do. Maybe if he had spent more time in the courthouse this might not have gotten so out of control

  3. Gene  December 10, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Parry look alike and voice mannerisms, not your typical local is he?

    they just remind me of each other.

  4. magix  December 10, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    My personal opinion is Pettit is a self promoter and is probably, to some degree, being used by Barton, et al, because he speaks well if you ignore the content of his speech. Like Parry he employs a lot of buzz words and terms like the recent “silo” management structure yet it doesn’t appear he fully understands silos at all.

    Parry uses a lot of catch phrases and buzz words and is almost as bad as Stufflebean was as far any genuine content in his speech. (At least Parry forms sentences, Stufflebean just threw adjectives together in no particular order). Parry repeatedly uses the word “overlay” and sprinkles lots of feel good word combinations like “moving forward”, “being positive”, “that’s a good thing” and “I am so pleased” into his talks. In the end, as with Pettit, there is no there there.

  5. Gene  December 10, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Main and Kitzhaber are deer in their headlights. frozen unable to move any direction. We need to get out the cattle prod for you know who. Its too late for Main, he put his eggs in the wrong set of baskets. He had all the supporters he needed to resist “their ” influence, but he got politicians gold fever and fell into their hands, now they will deliver him up as their scape goat, his “incompetency'” will be their reason for needing their highly paid county administrator, who can be controlled by the SCDC.
    Kitzhaber can be saved if he will let us have a new port commission and “Staff”, but only if he moves fast. These kids we raised are getting restless, and they are ready to focus on “who” is allowing these problems to worsen.

  6. Themguys  December 10, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Is Pettit a fake?

    I put it this way: “I could’a BEEN somebody.” as a last hurrah for these ‘boys’. I would say men, but that denotes a grown up who doesn’t need to sneak around behind closed doors to do their “business”. And a man stands up and defends himself honestly. Not refusing to show us his roadmap he’s following, he and his band of merry boys. Can some one tell me how I can force these clowns to reveal what papers they are passing around, and who the’re following. Like Messerle told us all “I’m going to hit the ground running”. Well he did, he just won’t talk about it, he won’t reveal HIS documents either.

    Are the voters of this county just going to sit there and let these ‘boys’ usurp our representative form of government? Or are they going to stand up to these little boys who think they are doing something other than participating in a circle jerk of huge proportions?

    Won’t ONE of you structure committee members give us the hand outs?

  7. aghast!  December 10, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Okay, I will hold you to this prediction but Main created this mess and he should try and get the county out of it before the other two blow everything up. Is Pettit a fake?


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