Effort underway to recall two Josephine Co. commissioners

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. —A petition to recall Josephine County Commissioners Dan DeYoung, and Herman Baertschiger, launched just this week. It points to poor leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a reason for removal.

“The whole petition is false,” said Commissioner DeYoung.

DeYoung is on his second term as commissioner. He was surprised to find out about the petition Thursday night.

“This Covid thing has split our nation, it’s split my home community of Josephine County in half, it’s brought on such hatred, I’ve never witnessed the hatred that I have in the last two years,” said Commissioner DeYoung.

The County Clerks’ office received the petition for a recall Thursday morning. The chief petitioner is listed as a resident from O’Brien, along with three other co-petitioners. There are 8 allegations, against each of the two commissioners.

DeYoung says the most inflammatory allegation made against him says, “DeYoung has abused his position as an elected leader by blocking and confusing local efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, thereby extending Josephine Counties record number of cases, hospitalizations, and death.”

“It’s very inflammatory the whole thing is to both me and my colleague Commissioner Baertschiger, the whole petition is false,” said DeYoung.

“I’m currently not packing my office up. None of this surprises me,” said Commissioner Baertschiger.

Similar allegations are also made against former State Senator, Herman Bertschiger.

One of the allegations against him reads in part, “Baertschiger has fought efforts to inform residents about vaccines that are proven to work.”

“The Covid has been used for a lot of excuses. Not saying it’s not a real thing, but it’s also been hijacked to benefit other political causes,” said Commissioner Baertschiger.

Throughout the pandemic, Josephine County commissioners have been criticized for not promoting masking and vaccines. Calling state COVID-19 mandates, a direct enemy of peoples’ liberty. But Baertschiger says, he’s not worried.

“I’m gonna get up every day just like I do, go in the office do my job, this is not going to be a distraction,” said Commissioner Baertschiger.

DeYoung and Baertschiger say Commissioner Darrin Fowler was not included in the recall, since he is not up for re-election next year.

A spokesperson for the county tells us, as of Friday, the chief petitioner has been approved to start collecting signatures.

The petitioner needs to get over 6,000 signatures by March 2nd to make it on the ballot.

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Jenna King
NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.