This is my last board of commissioners meeting today, and I would like to say thank you and how grateful I am to all of you for your support.
Serving as your county commissioner these past four years has been an experience that has been humbling and prideful; tedious and exhilarating; frustrating and enriching; but most of all, it has been an honor and a privilege.
Both the county and I have survived my tenure, and I hope, have been the better for it. I have learned and experienced so much since I decided to run for commissioner almost five years ago.
As a fellow commissioner and former state legislator from another county said to me, “Before I took office, the world was in black and white. Now I see it in technicolor.” That is so true.
I have had the pleasure to represent Curry County on various boards, committees and task forces as well as before state and federal agencies.
In 2008, I served on the “counties in fiscal distress” subgroup of the Governor’s Task Force on County Payments, which resulted in recommendation No. 53.
From that recommendation came SB77 in 2009, which asked to identify and establish the minimally adequate level of public safety services. This year, in early 2010, I served on the County Services Planning Council, which recommended wrapping legislation around the standards set by SB77 as a “trigger” for state action. This will be pursued by the Association of Oregon Counties in the 2011 legislative session.
My belief is that it is through representation, relationships, partnerships and collaboration that a small county like ours can have a voice and leverage our influence on issues that affect us on the state and federal level. Collaboration brought into Curry County over $190,000 in the past two years for youth summer jobs. Building trust allowed the county and Curry Public Transit to resolve their issues during my first year in office.
Good governance has always been very important to me. By striving for consistency, process and transparency in our county government, I hope to have worked toward that end. New policies, forms and procedures have been adopted, including the new “Department Head and Elected Officials Handbook,” and a county mission statement – a first. Thank you to Pattie Cook, the author, and office manager in the commissioner’s office.
Speaking of Pattie, I have been so fortunate to work with many hard-working and dedicated people. Many are our county employees. I am always impressed that with all our challenges, we have these tremendous individuals that are self-motivated and caring about the public they serve.
I thank these people for restoring my faith in local government. I also want to thank my former fellow commissioners, Marlyn Schafer and Lucie LaBonté for working together so well with me for the common good of our county, and for truly caring about it.
Commissioner-elect Dave Itzen is doing a terrific job in getting up to speed before he takes office. The challenges our county faces in the near future are many, and I appreciate and support his efforts to learn as much as he can now.
Thank you, Dave.
Curry County government does face an uncertain future. But with careful planning and public input, collaboration, transparency and leadership, we can and will survive our challenges and perhaps, even thrive.
I would like to read you our county mission statement:
“To honor and uphold the public trust by providing services to the citizens of Curry County in an open, professional, competent, fiscally responsible and ethical manner.”
It is a statement that I believe in strongly. May it also be Curry County’s guiding light.
Thank you all again, and I wish you and yours a very happy holiday and a prosperous new year!