Due to scheduling conflicts, the Harney County Court held its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 25. A summary of the unapproved minutes is as follows:
During the public comment period, Barbara Kull asked about the process to replace the Harney County sheriff, who is retiring as of Jan. 1, 2015.
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty and Harney County Clerk Derrin (Dag) Robinson explained that the court will interview candidates and appoint a sheriff to fill the vacancy. Then, a new sheriff will be elected in the 2016 general election.
The court later discussed the applications that it received for the sheriff position, and the county commissioners received copies of them.
Applicants include Stacey Johnson, David Ward, Brian Needham, and Kerry Boggs.
Interviews will be scheduled in the afternoon on Dec. 3, and the court will establish standard interview questions.
Wayne Baron attended the meeting to discuss his request to rent a county building.
After further investigation, the court determined a competitive rental rate of $1,850 per month, plus taxes and utilities for rent.
Baron left the meeting, and no action was taken.
District Attorney Tim Colahan attended to discuss Measure 91.
He provided the court with two informational documents, which included League of Oregon Cities Measure 91: What it Means for Local Governments, November 2014 and the Association of Oregon Counties’ (AOC) draft summary of Measure 91.
A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the impact of the measure on Harney County and the cities of Burns and Hines.
Colahan will continue to keep the court apprised of any new developments.
During the public comment period, Kull also asked about a surveyor who was seen in the area.
Grasty said these are flights performed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to measure elevation in the flood plain areas.
Kull also asked about mineral rights research that’s being done in the county.
Robinson replied that the Bureau of Land Management is compiling a database of Harney County mineral rights records.
Barbara Cannady said people called into 9-1-1 dispatch regarding low-flying planes.
Grasty said planes conducting aerial surveying don’t normally fly low, but he’ll investigate this issue.
In other business, the court:
• reported that sage grouse was discussed at the AOC Conference. Discussion has progressed, but no decisions have been made. However, it appears that there will be limited development allowed in the core areas;
• watched Robinson give a demonstration of the Laserfiche software program, which has search capabilities to track all documents related to the road inventory map. The planning/GIS, accounts payable, county clerk, and county judge offices are currently implementing the program;
• accepted the land donation from GEO Investments Inc. The deed was signed by the court and given to the county clerk for recording;
• discussed the Harney County Policies Public Grievance Procedure, which was previously accepted, but never signed by the court.
The court agreed to accept the procedure and sign it as of Nov. 25, 2014;
• discussed the formation of a regional workforce investment board with eight Oregon counties (including Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa) and the intergovernmental agreement to create the Eastern Oregon Jobs Council (EOJC). The board will consist of about 20 members, with a minimum of two members per county.
After reviewing Ordinance 2014-74 in the matter of creating the EOJC, the court agreed to read the ordinance by title only and adopt it.
The court will need to make board member recommendations at a later date. Grasty will ask Sharon Johnson to publicize the board member vacancies;
• announced that Harney County received the Citycounty Insurance Services Silver Award for the reduction in worker’s compensation claims during fiscal year 2013-2014;
• discussed the AOC Conference; and
• reviewed water use requests.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.