County best served by clean sweep
Last updated 10/26/2016 at 10:46am
I am one of eight citizen volunteers from Oroville, Okanogan, the Chilliwist, Twisp, and the upper Methow who have recorded notes of county commissioner proceedings during the past year. This effort was initiated because minutes had been posted weeks or months late, and commissioners had been unresponsive to citizens on essential issues.
On Oct. 27, 2015, the commissioners discussed sending juvenile offenders to Martin Hall in Medical Lake while the Superior Court judges and Juvenile Administrator were out of town; it didn’t appear on the agenda, it wasn’t covered by the press, and when commissioners’ minutes were finally published there was no record of the discussion. We began posting our notes on the website of Represent Okanogan County shortly thereafter.
I agree that Sheilah Kennedy is the hardest working commissioner, actually reading important documents and refraining from name-calling or insulting remarks during proceedings.
But concerning her asking “the hard questions” regarding departments’ budgets, consider one item: The county’s Expenditure Detail Report shows that during their first year in office these commissioners overspent their own $6,000 travel budget three-fold (spending $18,444.18) and raised their travel budget to $15,000 for 2014, $20,000 for 2015, and $16,000 for 2016. This was while criticizing other departments for overspending and pushing departments to contract jobs to private entities at much greater expense to the taxpayers. Their travel expenses emphasized training with organizations whose extremist ideologies even my Republican friends cannot support, thus encouraging antagonistic relationships between our county and essential statewide agencies, citizens, and the federal government.
We are best served by a clean sweep of the BOCC, electing independent candidates with extensive budget, economic, and county-wide governance experience (Chris Branch) and the work ethic, bridge-building, decision-making talents, and courage to make changes and serve us well (Ashley Thrasher).