Ahoy! ‘All This & Free Coffee, Too” at County Commission

Cup of Coffee

Betcha think I’m going to dive into the standard, garden-variety rundown of Monday’s county commission meetings in Montesano, huh? Well peeps, guess again. We’ll get to that in a minute. But let’s have some fun first.

The following is right out of the Most Unlikely Video Clip to Ever Appear in the Same Sentence With “County Commission Meeting” Department. Ahoy!

If you caught the clip to the end, you get the point. If you cheated and didn’t watch, you don’t have the first clue what I’m talking about in context. But in a conversation describing the – ahem – “eccentric” Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), Anna Martin tells her father, psychiatrist Dr. Leo Martin (Richard Dreyfuss): “He is fun!”

Believe it or not, every once in awhile county commission meetings fall into the same category.

I know, I know. Nine o’clock meetings on Monday mornings aren’t everyone’s cup of sunshine. But they can be a hoot. And worth your while. Take Monday. Snatches of levity wedged between weightier matters included:

  • Corey’s clam digging chronicles
  • Why you can’t eat pizza without Diet Pepsi
  • Peppermint oil
  • The wonders of sleep deprivation
  • Excedrin alternatives
  • Cleaning fish
  • Birthday trips to Leavenworth

Here’s the 4-1-1 from the real agenda:

  • Department heads are jockeying for their piece of a shrinking county budget pie
  • Department heads are jockeying for new hires, promotions or replacements in the Assessor’s and Auditor’s Offices and the District Court within a tight budget
  • Truckloads of admin. stuff
  • Contracts
  • Clarifications on job descriptions
  • Calendars and agendas
  • Travel requests
  • Facilities agreements
  • Unfunded mandates from the state create major migraines at the local level

An example of the thin-as-an-onion-skin budget facing the Board of Commissioners was a conversation between Commissioners Wes Cormier, Vickie Raines and Frank Gordon and newly elected Assessor Dan Lindgren. Lindgren defeated incumbent Rick Hole in November to assume the position.

Lindgren proposed bringing on a Lead Appraiser/Statistical Analyst. He stressed that it was “not a new position,” saying he wanted to replace the position he vacated when he was elected. Lindgren said the Assessor’s office keeps falling further and further behind the timeline set by the state. He wants to focus on the office doing its job and fulfilling its responsibilities accurately and on time.

Commissioner Cormier asked how Commissioner Gordon’s 10% across-the-board budget cut proposal would effect the Assessor’s office. Lindgren replied, “It would cripple my office.”

Gordon made a motion to hire the lead appraiser/statistical analyst. Commissioner Cormier said he’d prefer to focus on promoting efficiencies within the office. Commissioner Raines also expressed concerns about improved efficiencies, saying Lindgren can “show us what you got” related to creating new efficiencies. “This year is your benchmark,” she said. Raines explained that she “wouldn’t have voted for this position if it hadn’t been budgeted for.” She also noted that other departments are feeling a manpower pinch and looking for additional personnel. “I’d like to say yes to all of them,” she said. “But we just can’t afford it.”

Commissioner Gordon said he felt that Lindgren was starting out (as assessor) “with one hand tied behind your back without another person coming on.” He also said morale in the assessor’s office has had a significant boost since Lindgren assumed his post.

Lindgren’s proposal was approved.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It):

The fee waiver language proposed by Commissioner Cormier following January’s Noahic flooding was passed at the February 11 Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) meeting. Applaud here. More on that soon. Kindly keep your shirt on.

See? All this and free coffee, too. That’s not so bad, is it? Ahoy!

Image credit: Public domain