By editorial board • 

County should adopt set of specific goals

Annual goal-setting is something McMinnville’s mayor, city manager and city councilors undertake most seriously. They devote many hours each January — almost seven this year, in the course of a special Saturday session — discussing staff recommendations and analyses until they achieve consensus on a set of initiatives for the next year.

Not so for Yamhill County. In fact, the contrast between city hall and the county courthouse could hardly be greater.

The last two years, the county commissioners have settled for kicking around a few individual ideas during regular weekly work sessions, without any apparent staff opinions or any attempt to meld those ideas into a unified action plan.

What’s more, only Commissioner Mary Starrett seems to engage in thoughtful preparation in advance. While she has come armed with a list of her top priorities, and presented them in detail, her colleagues have settled largely for platitudes, generalities and a few off-the-cuff remarks — a wing and a prayer, if you will.

While we aren’t sure this annual rite of passage fully merits the amount of effort invested by the city, we can assert with great conviction that the county’s token effort falls well short.

Under the current regime, the county commissioners appear to be floating along, utterly rudderless much of the time, without discernible focus, plan or purpose. And lack of even the semblance of common goals could be a contributing factor.

Last year, Commissioner Allen Springer read a biblical passage before identifying two goals — obeying the command of God in county dealings and offering returning veterans work with the county’s court security detail. This year, he again identified two goals — reaching out to the local faith community and visiting all cities in the county on a rotating basis.

Both Starrett and colleague Stan Primozich identified a wider range of goals, but Starrett’s tended to be modest and Primozich’s vague. For example, she expressed support for listing county dog policy online so residents know where they can take an injured animal after hours, he for better transportation funding.

We believe it would behoove the commissioners to order a comprehensive staff report, dedicate at least a couple of hours to hashing it over in public and formally adopt a set of common goals for the year. Otherwise, the citizens they purport to serve have no idea where the county is headed, thus no idea what kind of progress it is making — if any.

The city began with its list from last year by crossing off both goals that had been achieved, such as anointing a new fixed base operator at the airport and creating a destination marketing organization, and goals it would never achieve, such as ending homelessness. It then began to focus on concrete goals for the coming year, such as creating new incentives for affordable housing, developing more walkable neighborhoods, promoting increased Latino engagement and fostering development of neighborhood commercial clusters.

That agenda provides a useful template for a more serious effort on the county’s part.



Horse with no name

God told 'em to take it easy.

West Valley Ted

Its a pretty simple explanation. When you don't have a plan, there's nothing to hold anyone accountable to. The County won't develop a strategic plan or set goals. Good heavens they might have to perform and that means they'd have to show up for work!

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