Josephine Co. politicians opposing proposed county charter

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore.– Some Josephine County elected officials are opposing an effort to get a new county charter on the May ballot.

The charter aims to expand the board of commissioners from three to five and establish four districts in the county.

Commissioners Herman Baertschiger and John West both signed the letter of opposition, along with a few other Josephine County politicians.

The new charter would also decrease commissioners pay to a $22,000 per year stipend, with the hopes of hiring a county commissioner with the money saved.

Commissioners Baertschiger and West said the proposed charter would do more harm than good.

Commissioner West disagrees with the idea of appointing a county manager and believes it would cost the county more money than it can afford.

He also said establishing districts within the county wouldn’t necessarily give representation to areas outside of Grants Pass on the board of commissioners.

West said, “if we want to change the charter, let’s do it right. Let’s not go backwards, let’s go forwards, and this charter does not go forwards.”

State Senator Art Robinson and State Representatives Christine Goodwin and Dwayne Yunker all oppose the idea of expanding the county board to five and hiring a county manager.

Commissioner Dan DeYoung is the only commissioner that did not sign the letter of opposition.

He said he was not invited to sign it and he would not have signed it regardless.

“My own personal code of ethics says that this could affect, in some way, my compensation one way or the other,” Commissioner DeYoung said, “I don’t feel as though I need to weigh in one way or the other, I think it should go to the voter.”

DeYoung said he prefers not to publicly support or oppose the charter.

He’s already announced he won’t seek re-election.

DeYoung said you typically don’t see proposals like this one unless citizens are unhappy with their government.

The charter has already collected the required number of signatures and will appear on the May ballot.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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