County Gov't Changes: Parry and Messerle support reforms

County Gov't Changes: Parry and Messerle support reforms
COQUILLE & NORTH BEND, Ore.-- Coos County Commissioners Cam Parry and Fred Messerle say Coos County government needs to be reformed for future generations of commissioners to be more effective in governing.

The current reforms being proposed are increasing the number of commissioners from three to five and those commissioners would report to a county administrator.

The commissioners would also recieve a $1,000 per month stipend instead of the current $60,000 salary with benefits.

Parry and Messerle say after two independent studies on Coos County government were completed, it became apparent that reforms needed to be made.

Parry and Messerle say the current board is too pre-occupied with making bookkeeping decisions and checking to see if toilets flush and elevators work. Both men say that is time that could be used to make policy.

"We could be a board," Parry said. "Any board is capable of ordering paper clips and products and when to fix the elevator and how to go about all that, but I don't think that is what the people of Coos County want. I think the people of Coos County want commissioners to be out there determining the critical policy question to decide if we are here or not and we have to be aggressive."

Messerle says since he was appointed, it has been apparent to him that there isn't enough time spent on policy.

"It is pretty obvious to me that we need a responsive and accountable administrative structure that can run the day to day operation," Messerle said. "As a commissioner, we need to be more concentrating on policy."

However, Messerle disagrees about what should and should not be placed on the ballot before the voters this fall.

Messerle believes with Parry that the changes in the number of commissioners should be placed before the voters, but since the position of county administrator would be a staff position under the board of commisioners, then that job's creation should be left up to commissioners.

"At this point and time, I tend to think that is a governance issue with the board and not appropriate to be put on the ballot."

Parry tells KCBY that there will be a public hearing on August 3rd about the changes, and then there will be a vote on the proposed ordinance on August 17th.