By News-Register staff • 

County bars reporter

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Commissioners should let the reporter in and follow the rules by staying on topic.


Commissioners do not act with transparency. Why?


Unfortunatly as a new commissioner I was not aware of what happened in August leading to the barring of media from the executive session. If the media reported on discussions that fell outside of the criteria that was allowed under executive session then media has the right to report it. At yesterdays meeting it was not brought up and the media was asked to leave. In the future I will go on record stating that I believe that media should be allowed to stay since they know the rules regarding reporting in Executive Session items. If items are discussed that fall outside the topic under consideration, the nedua has the right to report it.

Richard L. 'Rick' Olson
Yamhill County Commissioner


Thank you Mr.Olson.....well done.


Just for the record. County Counsel made the call to ask Ms Montesano to excuse herself from the recent union negotiation executive session. He did so because at a prior union negotiation executive session Ms Montesano reported on comments that were made within the executive session regarding union requests.(All within the scope of an exevutive session.)To say these comments were "under cover" of the session throws this into the high drama spin cycle. Nothing to see here, folks. It's always good to get the facts before jumping to conclusions.


BOC post submitted by Mary Starrett,
Yamhill County Commissioner.

Jeb Bladine

So long as we're gathering facts, here are a few more:

Commissioners are allowed by law to hold – and to restrict media attendance at – an executive session for the very specific purpose of: “To conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to carry on labor negotiations.”

That means all media allowed, or none – there's no provision for a public body to pick and choose among media representatives.

By declaration of the Attorney General in the Oregon Public Records/Meetings Handbook, “A news reporter has a clear right to disclose any matter covered in an executive session that is not properly within the scope of the announced statutory authorization of the executive session.”

It seems there may be some disagreement as to whether back in 2016, the News-Register reporter in question did, or did not, disclose a matter that was properly within the scope of the statutory authorization for that executive session.

What is not in question is this additional quote from the Attorney General's Handbook: “It is questionable whether a news media representative can be barred from future executive sessions for improperly revealing information obtained at a prior closed session.”

So, if commissioners are barring the N-R reporter for that alleged transgression back in 2016 -- as confirmed in these comments -- they are on very thin ice legally. The fact remains, of course, that they can bar all reporters from an executive session called “to conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to carry on labor negotiations.”

Were commissioners within that statutory scope with the 2016 comments that were reported? I don't know, but it does seem commissioners should stick to the law on restricting all media attendance if that is their desire – not citing a reason of questionable legality related to a single reporter.


Kudos to Rick Olson! My opinion is that County government started its current corruption about 15 years ago. Do the math and figure out who walked in the door then. Think hidden and illegal video taping. They obviously want to hide things like union busting activities, so much for transparency. It appears that Comm Starrett thinks she is above any law that she doesn't agree with. The County is a huge mess, unfortunately most citizens don't have any visibility to it. The press at least gives us some view inside. We started to right the ship by electing Rick Olson. We can complete the housecleaning starting with the other two and continuing on down through County Admin which also aids in the secrecy agenda. Notice that the Comms blame County Counsel for this latest fiasco. Ask yourself, who does the County Counsel work for? Its time to make the county an honest, well run, citizen focused organization again. We need to clean house in order for that to occur.


Well put binder....and your time line is spot on!


I would hope our county commissioners are considering the tax payers when deciding on what union benefits to support. After all it's tax payer dollars that pay union salaries and those salaries should line up with private sector wages. But they don't. They're a lot higher. Commissioners don"t give away the farm!!!!


amy - imo the commissioners don't look at it that way at all. They have very narrow agendas backed by their personal ideologies. There is little or no interest in representing the citizens. Their actions have actually strengthened the union to its now strongest position ever. How do you think ASCFME ever got involved? They weren't around before all the union busting activities began. It is expensive and counter-productive for all this non-transparent behind closed door activities to occur. The citizens lose.


Amy - I would prefer that Yamhill county residents earn a higher wage so that there are fewer people and their families that need taxpayer support and assistance. We can't demand that the county negotiate cheap wages while complaining that there are too many receiving support.


I would also say that unions raise wages and benefits for everyone...even those that aren't in unions.


To be honest I work from paycheck to paycheck so I understand wanting more and when I finally graduate I will get more but it will be because I have put the time and energy into bettering my situation. I don't want to better myself on the backs of others and often times that is what I see unions do. I don't discount the need for unions because with corporations there is always a need for balance but with the ability to bring balance comes corruptible power. Unions often use that power for things that are not beneficial to the people. I appreciate the polite dialogue. Thank you.


By their behavior, the commissioners appear both sneaky and paranoid.

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