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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

County more aware because of group's work

 


Thanks to those who have spent untold hours fostering transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in our county government by volunteering for Represent Okanogan County (ROC.)

This group welcomed Okanogan residents and voters of various persuasions since its inception, putting political differences aside to accomplish these goals. It’s been the belief of ROC supporters that public involvement with the current election would eventually lead to less litigation, more efficient use of tax dollars, and more responsiveness to the needs and wishes of the county’s citizens and employees.

During the year following ROC’s first meeting in June, 2015, there were no known candidates for the 2016 election. The goal was to attract candidates of any party to run for county commissioner to create a more favorable situation for public participation, resulting in more choice candidates and more public engagement in this election than we’ve seen in years.  

Because minutes of commissioners’ meetings were typically delayed by weeks or months, the organization’s volunteers took turns taking notes at commissioners’ meetings, posting them on rocon2016.org within a few days. The first result was that an ongoing discussion of sending juvenile offenders to Martin Hall in Medical Lake was brought to the public’s attention.

Another goal was to review commissioners’ prior decisions, requiring both document requests and analysis of the resolutions. ROC made interesting discoveries, including: 

• a 2013 resolution to hold a public hearing regarding formation of a budget to address the actions of federal and state agencies (this was never done, but expenditures occurred); and 

• a resolution obligating an important public servant to “exhibit unquestioned loyalty” to the board while receiving a raise from the salary of one of the commissioners.

This organization has benefitted the citizens of this county; we are more aware and informed because of the work they have done.

Susan Swanson

Omak

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