In the primary, Okanogan County voters demonstrated that they want change from the county commissioners. One incumbent did not enough votes to run in the general election. The other was in an almost three-way tie with two new candidates.
The reasons for change are many. The current commissioners have repeatedly put themselves on the minority view of many Issues – road closures, ignoring citizens’ concerns, disregarding state law and regulations, micromanaging departmental expenditures and staffing, litigating their agendas instead of negotiating in good faith, to name a few. Last week’s local papers carried two updates on their stances: a second judicial rebuke against their flawed ATV decisions; and the commissioners’ preference that private contractors do work that the county historically has done for small towns.
The county has five on-going lawsuits against them, and we the taxpayers are paying legal costs that many business managers would never consider doing. If you felt you were right about something, would you go to court repeatedly to prove you are right? No, you wouldn’t because you don’t have the money to do it. Well, the county doesn’t have the money either, to put it frankly, with so many important underfunded services.
Why all these unsound decisions? Are they consulting with their administrative and legal experts, who are there to help them stay apprised of the law, precedent and public sentiment? I don’t understand this approach to running the county. I understand the concept of smaller government, but not if it hurts the county and its citizens.
It is expected that 85 percent of the registered voters will vote in the general election. This is twice as many voters as participated in the primary election. Twice as many voters need to get informed before they mark their ballot. So, go to some community forums or read the candidates’ websites and/or Facebook pages to see what their positions are for the future of the county and its management. Know who you want to vote for and VOTE!