Sherman County eNews #94


  1. County Court – Board of Commissioners

  2. Shared State and County Services Serve the Same Oregonians!

  3. Sherman County Court & Regional Coalitions

  4. Sherman County Court: Duties & Compensation

  5. Editorial. Let’s Ask Our Candidates for County Judge

 1. County Court – Board of Commissioners

Oregon Revised Statutes 202.010 “County court” defined. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “county court” includes board of county commissioners.

203.035 Power of county governing body or electors over matters of county concern.

(1) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the governing body or the electors of a county may by ordinance exercise authority within the county over matters of county concern, to the fullest extent allowed by Constitutions and laws of the United States and of this state, as fully as if each particular power comprised in that general authority were specifically listed in ORS 203.030 to 203.075. [ for the Constitution of the State of Oregon]

(2) The power granted by this section is in addition to other grants of power to counties, shall not be construed to limit or qualify any such grant and shall be liberally construed, to the end that counties have all powers over matters of county concern that it is possible for them to have under the Constitutions and laws of the United States and of this state.

203.111 County governing body; legislative authority; quorum. Unless otherwise provided by county charter, a county court shall be the governing body and shall exercise general legislative authority over all matters of county concern and shall consist of the county judge and two county commissioners and a majority of those persons shall constitute a quorum. [1981 c.140 s.3 (enacted in lieu of 203.110)]

203.240 Organization, powers and duties of board.

(1) A board of county commissioners shall:
(a) Have the powers and duties and be otherwise subject to the laws applicable to county courts sitting for the transaction of county business.
(b) Unless provided otherwise by county charter or ordinance, consist of three county commissioners. A majority of the board is required to transact county business.

204.010 Terms of office of county officers. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the term of office of each officer mentioned in ORS 204.005 is four years.

204.020 When terms of office commence; filing certificate of election, oath and undertaking. (1) The term of office of each officer mentioned in ORS 204.005 shall commence on the first Monday of January next following election to office.

204.601 Number and appointment of deputies and other employees.

(1) The county court or board of county commissioners of each county shall fix the number of deputies and employees of county officers whose compensation is to be paid from county funds.
(2) All such deputies and employees shall be appointed by such county officer, and shall hold office during the pleasure of the appointing officer. [1953 c.306 s.9]

5.020 Juvenile court jurisdiction in certain counties. The county court of counties from which no transfer of jurisdiction is made under ORS 3.260 or 3.265 or other provisions of law shall have all juvenile court jurisdiction, authority, powers, functions and duties.

2. Shared State and County Services Serve the Same Oregonians!

The State:

—general administrator

—state property manager

—state courts, patrol, prison

—child protection

—mental health hospital



—state parks.

Services Shared by County and State:


—assessment and taxation

—PERS [Public Employees Retirement System]


—county jails [Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility]

—community corrections [Tri-County Community Corrections]

—court security

—district attorney

—9-1-1 [Frontier Regional 911 Agency]

—juvenile services

—aging services [Community Action Program of East Central Oregon]

—alcohol/drug programs

—children and families

—developmental disabilities

—mental health services [Tri-County Mental Health / Center for Living]

—veterans’ services [Tri-County Veterans Services]

—public health [North Central Public Health District]

—environmental health


—economic/community development [Mid-Columbia Economic Development Dist.]


—roads [Oregon Department of Transportation, Sherman Count Road Dept.]

—housing [Mid-Columbia Housing Authority]

—Oregon Plan

—public forests

—federal land policy

—telecommunications [Frontier TeleNet, Sherman, Gilliam & Wheeler]

—county fair [Sherman County Fair]




—property management


—county law library

—sheriff patrol

—medical examiner

—animal control

—solid waste


—capital projects

—county forests, parks


3. Sherman County Court & Regional Coalitions

Regional coalitions, formed by contracts between two or more counties or counties and the state, centralize and economize the receiving and administering of state-and federally-funded programs that are shared between the counties — including Sherman County. Commissioners at these meetings determine policy, direction, program priorities and outcomes.

A good example is the Mid-Columbia Center for Living / Tri-County Mental Health Board. This Board employs administrators and mental health professionals to provide services for Sherman, Hood River and Wasco Counties from offices in The Dalles, Hood River & Moro with state and federal funding for the three counties. State and federal funding streams are not distributed to single counties of our size, but to groups of counties by the efficient use of one administrative office and joint staff.

The same is true for other boards where county commissioners exercise leadership and opinions on behalf of Sherman County citizens and their interests. In some cases, this representation involves legislative action, visits to legislators and editors of major newspapers, prioritizing regional interests and making sure that Sherman County receives its share of services. Regional and statewide views are important to all of us — the bigger picture that affects us in a multitude of ways.

Our Commissioners and County Judge influence the policies, budgets, personnel and programs of REGIONAL boards, including but not limited to these:

  • Mid-Columbia Economic Development District
  • Mid-Columbia Community Action Council
  • Tri-County Corrections
  • Frontier TeleNet
  • Frontier Regional 911 Agency Dispatch Center
  • Tri-County Mental Health – Center for Living
  • North Central Public Health District
  • Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility / NORCOR (regional jail)
  • Lower John Day Regional Partnership
  • Lower John Day Area Commission on Transportation
  • Association of Oregon Counties

… in addition to local boards:

  • Sherman County Weed District
  • Sherman County Fair
  • Sherman County Public/School Library
  • Prevention Coalition
  • Senior & Community Center Advisory Committee
  • Local Public Safety Coordinating Council.

4. Sherman County Court: Duties & Compensation

The Sherman County Court (a county judge and two commissioners) considers a wide range of services, some shared with the state and some reserved for the county.

Members of the Sherman County Court are paid. Their work is substantially supported by the work of an Administrative Assistant, Finance Officer, Clerk, Treasurer, legal counsel and others, as well as personnel working for state and regional government entities that deliver services to Sherman County.

In addition to attending meetings of the County Court, they represent the county on state, regional and local boards in a mutual division of duties. These assignments are a routine part of their work for which they report at meetings of the County Court.

Compensation for Fiscal Year 2017/18 is determined by the budget committee.

The current compensation for the full-time County Judge position on a seven-step salary schedule is $7,530/month, the top salary for the county judge position of $7,240, plus longevity pay of $290/month.

The current compensation for the half-time position of County Commissioner, Position 1 on the seven-step salary schedule is $2,573/month. This is at the second of the seven steps for a commissioner and is a .50 FTE (full-time equivalency) position (20hrs/wk).

The current compensation for the half-time position of County Commissioner, Position 2 on the seven-step salary schedule is $3,127/month.  This is at the sixth of the seven steps for a commissioner and the same .50 FTE (20hrs/wk).

These officials are eligible for all county benefits, Public Employees Retirement System and health insurance based on FTE and mileage. Compensation for all county employees is calculated on the schedule according to their classification, FTE and longevity, some on a merit basis. More information is found here:

5. EDITORIAL: Let’s Ask Our Candidates for County Judge

Election Day is coming up! We encourage Sherman County voters to ask the four candidates for the position of County Judge a few questions. It’s part of the process! We’re interviewing them for this position.

It’s our responsibility to know why these four candidates want this responsibility and what they have accomplished or hope to accomplish on our behalf.

Let’s ask them! 

  • Joe Dabulskis
  • Larry Hoctor
  • Fred Justesen
  • Mike Smith

Why? What?

  • Why do you want this responsibility?
  • What do you hope to accomplish?
  • What inspired you to run for office?
  • If elected, would you participate in County College?

Qualifications for County Judge w/Juvenile & Probate Jurisdiction.

  • Let’s get acquainted. Tell us about yourself, your education, military and public service and family.
  • Describe your previous work experiences?
  • What one skill makes you the most qualified for this position?
  • Describe your qualifications for governance, planning and policy development.
  • Describe your participation in county activities.
  • What are your thoughts about Sherman County’s future?

County Goals and Long-range Plans.

  • What are the county’s primary obligations?
  • What are the county’s top three or four goals?
  • Is county government, as currently funded and staffed, sustainable?
  • How many people are employed by Sherman County government?
  • What is the population of the county? Is growth predicted?

Strategic Investment Program (SIP).

  • Please describe the Strategic Investment Program (SIP) (wind energy dollars) and changes we can expect in future revenue.
  • Does the County continue to reserve a percentage of wind farm revenue?
  • Name three or four SIP-funded projects. 

Jobs & Economic Development.

  • What are your ideas for economic development?
  • What is your position on private enterprise for economic development? 

County Government Competition with Private Enterprise.

  • What is your position on county competition with private enterprise?
  • Weed control?
  • Internet services?
  • Senior Center meals?
  • Housing lots and subsidies?
  • Telecommunication?

Funding, Maintaining & Preserving Public Parks.

  • What is your position on funding public parks? Park partnerships?
  • Sherman County’s DeMoss Springs Memorial Park?
  • S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philippi Park on the John Day River?
  • S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Giles L. French Park?
  • Cottonwood Canyon State Park?
  • Sherman County Fairgrounds Event Center.

Telecommunication: Sherman County’s Fiber.

  • Is Sherman County’s Fiber Project on schedule?
  • Who owns, manages and maintains the fiber?
  • How is it funded? County SIP dollars and/or State?
  • How much has been spent so far?
  • Are additional funds needed?
  • Do you view the Fiber Project as comparable to a government highway on which Internet Service Providers drive – to provide services?
  • How many Internet Service Providers use our fiber?
  • Is it competitive?
  • Are county government offices connected?
  • Is the school district connected?
  • Does the fiber serve everyone in the county? If so, how?
  • What, specifically, is in it for me?
  • How has the Fiber Project improved our economic development?

County Internet Network.

  • How many Sherman County residents subscribe to Rural Technology Group for internet service?
  • Who owns Rural Technology Group?
  • Does the county subsidize Rural Technology Group?

Sherman, Gilliam & Wheeler’s Frontier Regional 911 Dispatch Center in Condon.

  • Who proposed a 911 call center to be located in Sherman County?
  • What is the need?
  • Who would pay for it?
  • Would it be independently sustainable?

You’ll think of other questions! Ask them! Call the candidates! Ask! We’re in this together! One of them will represent and work for us!