KAST News recieved an email Thursday from Clatsop County Commission Chairman Peter Huhtala where he responds to public concerns over the County take-over of the Clatsop County Housing Authority Board of Directors. The email reads:
I thought that you might be interested in my (attached) thoughts regarding the Housing Authority matter, as I expressed them at the Commission meeting last night. This was a difficult decision, but in the end I could not excuse the public meeting law issues. Commissioner Birkby stated that she had not received notice of any of the Finance Committee or Project Committee meetings in almost two years as liaison. Sometimes the minutes reflect that a meeting date had been set, but this is not the same as public notice, as you know (and minutes would generally not be available until after the meetings took place). In the case of the recent Hyak renovation project, there is no evidence that the contracts were ever approved in a public meeting.
I wanted to believe that this was just sloppy management and uninformed oversight. In the end I voted with the majority to take on the fiduciary governance role. I feel that this is the responsible action, even though it will require more of our time. The decision changes nothing except that the members of the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners will oversee and direct management, rather than the members of the CCHA Board that CCBOC had appointed. It makes us accountable to perform the functions of this public agency in an open, transparent manner.
Some folks tried to make this about some sort of plot by the County, even suggesting that I or others had a conflict of interest. The only way that I could claim a conflict of interest is if I stood to gain financially from this decision. That was clearly not the case, as our lawyer explained. County Commissioners are required to vote unless they can declare an actual, pecuniary conflict. Since I could not, I had to vote.
All the best,
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