‘It’s Raining, It’s Pouring’ at County Commission

Rainy umbrella

It’s raining in Grays Harbor. Just in case ya hadn’t noticed.

Other stuff you may want to notice from today’s county commission meeting starring Commissioners Vickie Raines, Wes Cormier and Frank Gordon included travel and mileage, a new web site, public record requests, and the 2016 budget process. And rain. The latter hit everyone’s parade.

Board approval related to two travel requests for Commissioner Gordon got a teensy-weensy bit testy this morning. At issue were costs associated with a September 23, 24 County Partners Program in Yakima ($223.10) and a 2015 County Leaders Conference in Stevenson, November 17 – 20 ($980.48).

Commissioner Cormier questioned the expenditures in light of the county’s current budget woes. He asked Commissioner Gordon if he’d be willing to pay half.  It kinda went sideways from there.

Gordon said he was only asking for mileage to Yakima and that he hasn’t charged the county anything for other meetings he’s attended as a commissioner.

Raines and Cormier said that questioning the travel expense “isn’t personal,” but related to broader fiscal concerns. The Board approved both travel requests.

Oh, and it’s wet outside.

A new county web site is also in the works, in case you’re wondering. Even if you’re not, the tentative target date to go live is January 1, 2016.

The third courtroom project is moving forward. “We’re making progress,” Raines said. $ numbers are forthcoming.

County Prosecutor Katie Svoboda and Deputy Prosecutor Norma Tillotson were on hand to discuss last week’s Washington State Supreme Court ruling related to public records.  This is pretty fun. If you thought this stuff was as clear as the bottom of coal mine shaft at midnight during a hurricane prior to the August 27 ruling, just wait. It’s gonna get even better now.

Is it raining yet?

The nutshell version: Svoboda said that the case, which originated in Pierce County, says that if a public employee is using a “private device” (cell phone) to text messages related to county business, they’re obligated to cough up said messages. Issues related to message retention, transitory messages – “Dear John, I’m running late, be there in 10” – and whether or not texts have been saved were also discussed, as was developing a new public records policy to ensure full compliance.

Bottom line-ish: “Anything on your personal device may be subject to disclosure.” Just what exactly is meant by “may” or “county business” remains a wee bit murky. But you already knew that.

PRR training is set for September 24 and 25. Don’t be late.

Regarding The Dreaded 2016 Budget Process, Commissioner Cormier said he’d “like to see a summary from each department” related to budget numeros. Gordon “fully” agreed. Raines concurred, adding she’d like to schedule appointments with individual department heads and electeds “to initially get through the process.” The sentiment was echoed by Cormier and Gordon.

Grab the umbrella…

In the afternoon, the commissioners unanimously passed a proclamation declaring September 8 -16 “Suicide Prevention Week.” See: Suicide Prevention Proclamation.

And oh yes. “Fin visits” will take place October 7 through October 10. If you have to ask what that means, take heart. So did I.  (It’s related to fish.)

There will be no meeting next Monday, September 7, due to the Labor Day holiday. The next meeting will be Monday, September 14.

Did I mention rain?

Photo credit