Sherman County eNews #114


  1. April 24th Editorial: Inviting Candidates’ Visions for Getting Frontier TeleNet Back on Track

  2. Candidates’ Visions for Getting Frontier TeleNet Back on Track:

    • Joe Dabulskis: Vision and Solutions for Frontier TeleNet

    • Larry Hoctor: Visions and Solutions for Frontier TeleNet

    • Mike Smith: Frontier TeleNet and the Right Track

Editorial: Inviting Candidates’ Visions for Getting Frontier TeleNet Back on Track

pencil.spiralOn April 24th Sherman County eNews offered an opportunity for Sherman County’s four candidates for the position of county judge to submit to eNews in 350 words or less their vision and solutions for Frontier TeleNet problems. Deadline: Monday, April 30th at 5 p.m.

Readers will recall Frontier TeleNet meeting minutes and editorial concerns posted here. A three-county partnership, Frontier TeleNet provides telecommunications services. The governing board members are the Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler county judges.

We pledged to post together the responses received by the deadline during the first week of May. In alphabetical order on May 1st, here are the Candidates’ Visions for Getting Frontier TeleNet Back on Track.

Joe Dabulskis: Vision and Solutions for Frontier TeleNet

pencil.sharpRecently Frontier TeleNet’s Board of Directors had the Association of Oregon Counties’ County Solutions Program do an assessment of Frontier TeleNet and I would follow their recommendations.

Frontier TeleNet needs to create plans, business plans- immediate, short term and even long range plans, with definite time frames. Six month, one year, five years, ten years. A marketing plan, to include expenditures and revenues. How much to charge for each service, now, and in the future. I feel that the fiber optic and broadband could and should be self- sustaining. Plans are needed for upgrades to keep up with advances in technology, and these plans need to be reviewed frequently.

Audits would be interesting. Financials and a systems audit.

Think about the governance. Does it need to change? This is a question I’d like to receive more input on, both for and against. Does Frontier TeleNet need an advisory committee?

Frontier TeleNet needs to think about a manager. It has a marketing director, but a manager may be needed. Both manager and marketing director as well as all staff and officers need clear job descriptions, responsibilities, expectations and accountability.

Get E-rate dollars owed to Frontier TeleNet.

Be transparent. Make website more in-depth, feedback says it’s shallow. Disappointing for a telecommunications organization.

Have a vision. Work on public image. Many times I have heard that Frontier TeleNet is the leading communication project in the state, but only from the board and people involved. I would like to see this in writing from other entities, not just from board members. It may be the best in the state, and let’s hear it from others.

As a Sherman County Commissioner, I attend Frontier TeleNet meetings to keep informed and updated. The recommendations listed above can be achieved.

Joe Dabulskis

Sherman County Commissioner

Larry Hoctor: Visions and Solutions for Frontier TeleNet


Thank you for the opportunity to submit my ideas for the vision and solutions for Frontier TeleNet.

While I wish I knew more, I have not attended a meeting of Frontier TeleNet. I do not feel that reading the minutes and reading editorials gives me enough of a background to make a valid comment on the performance of Frontier TeleNet.

I however, do share your frustration in the pace of progress over the last few years.

As the election process moves forward, I intend to get much more involved in Frontier TeleNet, as well as many other programs that the County Court is dealing with.

Thank you for your good questions that you have presented here, and in past eNews issues. I am adding to your lists, as there is much to learn as this process continues.

Larry Hoctor


Mike Smith: Frontier TeleNet and the Right Track

pencil.sharpBefore discussing what improvements could be made, allow me to explain what Frontier TeleNet actually is. It’s owned by Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler County. Over the last 17 years, Frontier TeleNet built a radio network that reaches nine counties. It serves County and State Police, Fire, Ambulance and 911 Dispatch; which serves four counties and the Burns Indian Tribe. It has helped create 19 local jobs. This “Mission Critical” system serves those who protect and serves us all, every minute of every day. 

The Frontier TeleNet Board understood the lack of Internet availability, so they built it into the system. This brought Internet to our schools and supplies “middle-mile” Internet, so Internet Service Providers have a network that lets them serve our homes. It was a wise decision. Internet sales help fund the system, along with grants and other fees so we don’t charge our local Police, Fire and Ambulance to use the system.

So what needs fixing? There is always room for improvement. Technology continually changes. With fiber now we have the bandwidth we need. A company Frontier TeleNet has been working with for over a year wants to run fiber to the home in four Sherman cities. This will also improve speeds to homes is rural Sherman County as well. We are finding new partners to share costs with. Currently, two counties are looking to join us.

One big challenge is getting the Federal Government to pay their bill. They are three years behind. We are working diligently with our legal counsel and Federal Representatives to correct this problem. We believe they will begin paying us soon.

What’s needed most of all is your support. A few people continue to malign the Board and its contractors. Those attacks cause damage. It makes potential partners and customers wary. One complaint caused slow payment from the Federal Government. They now agree the complaint was untrue, but it caused delay.

Having everyone support, promote and understand the importance of Frontier TeleNet can help it continue to serve everyone long into the future.

Warmest Regards,

Mike Smith


Candidate for Sherman County Judge

[Editorial Note: Mike Smith dba Connections LLC is the Executive Marketing Director for Frontier TeleNet]