Over the years, Curry County Commissioners and other elected and appointed officials have had an aversion to responding to questions or suggestions regarding the general operation and financial health of the county. Those individuals appear to be of the opinion the citizens and electorate of Curry County work for and are accountable to them and not the other way around. Below are a variety of questions that have been directed to officials on one or more occasion on various county issues and never been answered. In most cases officials have not seen fit to respond. Answers to many of the questions are still vitally important if the county is to ever navigate out of the financial abyss it is currently in.
Town Hall Meetings - 2011
A series of three Town Hall meetings were scheduled by the commissioners to be held in June, August and October 2011. The stated
purpose of the meetings was to allow the "Community to provide input & suggestions to shape actions" of the commissioners and
the future direction in which they proceeded. Meetings were scheduled to be held in Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings in
June, August and October for a total of nine meetings.
During the meetings in June, commissioners passed out packets consisting
of 31 pages of graphs and bar charts (all in color) and presented their case why they needed more revenue. The packet also included
information on the commissioners proposal to acquire the Cape Blanco state airport.
During the June and August town hall meetings
informed citizens took the commissioners at their word and provided their input.
In August there were several Letters
to the Editor about the town hall meetings. One letter in particular from a citizen in Gold Beach stood out with eight
questions on the Cape Blanco airport and covered finances, market plans, focus groups, etc.
In fact, there was so much good,
constructive dialog from engaged citizens that the commissioners NEVER held the town hall meetings in October.
For those interested in the 31-page (color) 3.5MB document click
The Lights Are On But Nobody's Home
Picture this: The county treasurer (elected position) goes on medical leave for a month or two and the deputy treasurer
agrees to come back to work after being laid off but, not without first demanding a raise. Then a commissioner asks
for information regarding major financial issues in a department for over two years and is told "now that you
ask me I do have that information." Wow, it's a good thing the question was finally phrased properly.
Itzen during the August 3, 2011 board of commissioner meeting: "It's been a rocky road. One would expect that
the deputy would be trained to perform the duties of the person she's taking. In fact, if you look at the definition of a deputy
Treasurer that's exactly what is expected. So I did contact the deputy Treasurer through our HR person and she refused to meet
with me on instructions of the Treasurer."
Watch video of Itzen's explanation here
Not to fear - commissioners
later unanimously appointed the deputy to fill the vacant position of county Treasurer.
Commissioners refused to respond
to questions on the subjects above. A few of the actual questions asked follow.
• Why was an employee in
this position for nearly five years when they were not competent and qualified to perform the tasks specified in their Job Description?
What authority do commissioners have over subordinates of elected officials in situations such as the one being discussed in this
• Does the fact that no job descriptions or standards of conduct exist for elected officials at the county level preclude
the citizens, the electorate or the elected officials of Curry County from establishing such standards?
Citizens' Advisory Committee Questions - December 2011
Citizens' Advisory Committee questions were briefly discussed on the Committees & Surveys page. Following are
actual questions provided to county officials in the hope their answers would assist committee members in their final recommendations.
County Finance Director: News reports in July 2011 identified several large department loans were required to "zero out"
any negative balances as required by law. The amounts reported exceed $750,000.
• What are the current total cumulative
negative balances (liabilities) of county departments by individual department?
• ORS 294.250 requires the county governing body
publish a complete list of expenditures exceeding $500 in a specific format on a monthly basis. Is this information provided
online (current & prior months) and if not, where is it provided?
Curry County Sheriff: November 30, 2011 presentation
packet provided to each committee member included a section on personnel wages which showed benefits of 40% (percent).
What is the breakdown by line item for the benefits (description and percent)?
Curry County Counsel: December 15, 2011 county
counsel Herbage spoke to committee members about general subjects and a Mandated County Services - Quick Reference Guide
• What types of decisions now made by the commissioners may not be delegated to and made by others?
• What categories
are currently mandated and not required?
• What mandated categories currently provided may be returned to the State of Oregon?
If a category is currently mandated and provided such as the 'ASSESSOR', (second category listed) does anything prohibit the services
(excluding the elected official) performed within that category from being subcontracted or outsourced?
The mandated services list may be downloaded
For those interested in the Letter to the Editor click