More Board Commissioners Will Give Jackson County Residents a Voice

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Jackson County residents will have a voice that is heard if the Board of Commissioners is increased from three to five members. This is the opinion of Bill Thorndike, a member of the Jackson County Economic Development Advisory Committee, who attended Tuesday night’s public meeting in the Medford town hall called by Jackson County For All (JCFA).:


Board of Commissioners ‘Have No Idea What They are Doing’

Mixed opinions about JCFA’s attempts to place three measures on the May ballot were lodged by members of the public at the meeting. While some support the JCFA proposal, others say the existing Board of Commissioners “have no idea what they are doing” and are therefore opposed to increasing their numbers.

But a former Jackson County Commissioner Sue Kupillas disagrees. She believes that increasing the number of commissioners will place more pressure on the members “to be out of their offices and out in the community.” Kupillas says Jackson County will benefit if the number of board members is increased because there will be more competition and accountability.

Supporting her opinion, Bill Thorndike, a member of the Jackson County Economic Development Advisory Committee, says the JCFA campaign to increase the Board of Commissioners from three to five is the right move as “it will assure the people are heard more.” Thorndike believes that by increasing the odds policy decisions will be more representative of what the people of Jackson County want.


Three Ballot Measures

The three measures that JCFA wants placed on the ballot in May are:

  • Board of Commissioners must be non-partisan which will give residents who have no party affiliations the right to vote.
  • The Board of Commissioners must be increased from three to five members to cater for the county’s 223,259 residents.
  • Board of Commissioner members must have salary cuts because they earn more than the Governor of Oregon.

Campaign Manager Denise Krause confirmed that the JCFA has approached the Secretary of State to investigate possible election law violations by county commissioners for allegedly requesting that residents not support her organization’s ballot measure attempt. Krause has described this behavior as “inappropriate.”

She told the meeting that the time has come for the citizens of Jackson County to have better representation and points out that three commissioners are insufficient to serve the county’s growing population. Krause is also opposed to the “inflated salaries” earned by the three commissirs.

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