Transparency  and public participation  should be a cornerstone of government.   Tis requires citizens to receive timely notice of what matters government is considering.  In August  the Coos County Board of Commissioners {BOC}  adopted two resolutions through a process that undermined these principles. 

On August 15 the BOC unanimously passed a resolution asking the state legislature to repeal ballot measure 110. This measure decriminalized hard drugs and diverted cannabis tax revenue to addiction.

This resolution was a late agenda item that was not in the original meeting notice.  A revised notice with the resolution was posted on line a few hours before the BOC  met. Several addiction treatment professionals told me they they would have spoken against the resolution had they known it was on the meeting agenda.  These people were concerned that repeal of measure 110  would eliminate the drug treatment funding it provides.  According to Todd Korthuis MD from Oregon Health Sciences University Oregon has the highest rate of drug use and the least access to drug abuse treatment in the nation.

The very late public notice of the 110-repeal resolution resulted in the BOC hearing only a narrow range of public comments on the issue.

On August 29 the BOC adopted a controversial COVID resolution.  This adoption violated BOC Policies and Procedures. The public was not notified the issue would be considered.   The resolution was not on the agenda.  It was brought up late in the meeting after many people had left.

The resolution passed on a 2 to 1 vote. The resolution’s author ,  Rod Taylor and Chair Robert  Main voted yes, Commissioner John Sweet  voted no.

Section 1.035 (3) of BOC Policies and Procedures says that adoption of any item not on the agenda requires a yes vote by “all Commissioners present”.   BOC Chair Robert  Main either ignored this requirement or was ignorant of it.

Unfortunately, this violation does not void the vote.  Section 1.075 of the BOC rules states” Failure to comply with any rule not otherwise required by law shall not be the basis for contesting, modifying, or voiding any action of the Board or for any other legal cause of action.”  Sadly, Oregon law does not prohibit the BOC from considering items not on the agenda. 

The COVID resolution was not vetted by the County Public Health Unit or County Counsel.The resolution seems designed to nullify any COVID prevention measures any local, state or federal governments might adopt.  The assertions in the resolution are far outside the mainstream of medical opinion.

Neither the Commissioners who voted for the resolution nor those who spoke in its favor have any expertise in public health.  According to his campaign filing paperwork the highest formal education of the resolutions author Rod Taylor is a California High School Equivalency Certificate.