Sherman County eNews #15


  1. Notice. Frontier TeleNet Meeting, Jan. 16

  2. Frontier TeleNet Management & Turn-Around Proposal Approved

  3. Richard Macnab 1949-2019

  4. Gathering of Historical Organizations in & around Wasco County, Feb. 15

  5. Wasco County Original Courthouse 2019 Regional History Forum Series

  6. How Do You See Your World?

  7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

1. Notice. Frontier TeleNet Board Meeting w/Sherman County Court, Jan. 16 

Frontier TeleNet Board of Directors Meeting

2 p.m. Sherman County Courthouse

Frontier Telenet’s minutes & agendas web page has been updated to include the agenda for the meeting on January 16, 2019 to consider the proposed Sherman County loan.

2. Frontier TeleNet Management & Turn-Around Proposal Approved

The Frontier TeleNet Board of Directors, at their January 11, 2019, meeting, agreed to move ahead with a management and turn-around plan as proposed by Gilliam County Judge Farrar.

Stakeholders will be interested in the January 17th Times-Journal report of the January 11th board meeting.

“MEETING DATE: January 11, 2019

“FROM: Elizabeth Farrar, Gilliam County Judge & Frontier Telenet Board Member

“TITLE OF AGENDA ITEM: Short-Term Management Plan & Interim Turnaround Consultant Proposal

SUMMARY: Frontier Telenet is at a crossroads. The organization finds itself in a serious financial shortfall and without the consultants it has historically relied on to manage the system’s day-to-day needs. This briefing lays out a potential way forward. It approaches the problem in three phases: Phase 1 (Immediate Needs – 6-8 weeks), Phase 2 (Turnaround – 6-9 months), Phase 3 (2020 and beyond).


The FTN Board’s central goal must be to ensure the reliability of the emergency communications system we are entrusted to manage. Our current contract with Day Wireless provides the technical expertise needed to keep the system up and fully functioning during this transition. Day Wireless will continue to receive real-time alerts when incidences arise that could affect the functionality and reliability of the system, and back-up systems and replacement parts are already in place to enable Day Wireless technicians to respond quickly when needed.

However, there may be times when emergency expenditures are needed or replacements to the replacement parts need to be purchased. The FTN Board needs to define the process for approving those expenditures in-between our regular meetings. 

“Recommendation 1: I am recommending the Board designate one member, as well as one alternate, who is authorized to approve emergency expenditures and replacement parts up to $10,000 in-between the Board’s regular meetings. Any expenditures over $10,000 would need to come before the full Board for approval. Before his departure, Marketing Consultant Mike Smith provided a list of pending projects. I asked Day Wireless to review those projects and prioritize them as high (needs attention in January/February), medium (can wait until after February), and low (longer-term). On the list, there were four projects they rated as high priority that are not directly connected to the Wheeler County Wireless Project (which Judge Morley is already overseeing): Gilliam County Courthouse Link, Juniper 700 Backup Batteries, Klondike Avangrid Connection, Spray School Dorm Connection. 

“Recommendation 2: I am recommending the Board designate one member to manage each of these projects and report back to the Board. The full Board will continue to make approvals for legal agreements, purchases, etc. related to these projects as needed. 

“PHASE 2: TURNAROUND (Duration: 6-9 months)

The FTN system is complex, and a complete turnaround of the organization requires a sustained time commitment and more technical expertise than the Board is able to provide on its own. Therefore, I am recommending FTN begin an immediate search for a qualified Interim Turnaround Manager, skilled in organizational restructuring and turnarounds, to assist the Board in putting FTN on a path to financial sustainability.

“The Interim Turnaround Manager would be tasked with implementing the recommendations contained in AOC’s Fall 2017 County Solutions assessment. Specifically:

(1) Conduct a comprehensive systems audit. The audit should include an asset map with the status of leases and agreements that support the current system, identification of needed upgrades, current customers and accounts, and marketable assets.

(2) Work with the FTN Board to establish a vision for the organization. The vision should identify the appropriate role for FTN in a changing regional technology landscape.

(3) Develop a business plan. As AOC’s report states, the business plan: “should build on the asset map, and be based on the vision to establish what kind of service is needed. The plan should outline the system upgrades that are needed and a strategy for how to pay for them. The plan should also develop a strategy to sequence new investments in the region and ensure expectations of service do not exceed the capacity of the systems to deliver them…To build ownership in the business plan, it should be developed in a transparent manner with opportunities for engagement with stakeholders.”

(4) Develop a marketing plan for those components identified in the systems audit as marketable assets with an eye toward the overall health and financial sustainability of the system.

(5) Make recommendations to the FTN Board for changes in the governance of the FTN organization to better align with FTN’s newly defined mission, improve transparency, increase stakeholder engagement, and promote sound fiscal management.

(6) Assist the FTN Board in identifying a fiscally prudent, long-term solution for managing the FTN system and, if necessary, hiring qualified staff.

(7) Develop and implement a plan to transition existing clients off of FTN’s network, as needed, to align with FTN’s redefined mission and business plan.

(8) Support the new FTN Board’s efforts to improve transparency and encourage public engagement in the decision-making of the organization.

(9) Provide management of the infrastructure system; working closely with FTN’s Board and vendors to ensure the critical communications system remains reliable and functional through this transition. 

“Recommendation 3: I am recommending the Board designate one member to serve as the turnaround point person. The designee would work with FTN Counsel to finalize a Scope of Work document for Board approval in late-January and to recruit at least 3 consultant candidates for the Board’s consideration in mid-late February. 


This phase will largely be shaped by the work product and recommendations that come from Phase 2.”

3. Richard Macnab 1949-2019

flower.rose.starRichard ‘Dick’ Macnab passed away unexpectedly Sunday, January 6, 2019, in Hood River, Oregon. Dick was playing basketball Sunday, as he has a couple of times a week for many years, and between games went for some water and collapsed. He was born December 19, 1949, to Pete and Janet (Kaseberg) Macnab, and was 69 years of age at the time of his death. Services are planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, January 26, at the Wasco School Event Center, 903 Barnett Street in Wasco. Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center, Celilo Chapel, 204 E. 4th Street, The Dalles. A note of condolence can be left for the family on-line, http://www.AndersonsTributeCenter.

4. Gathering of Historical Organizations in & around Wasco County, Feb. 15







We all have a common interest in the history of this area.  Let’s get to know each other and share information with each other in an informal setting.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019, 5-7 p.m.




Appetizers, coffee, tea and water will be served and we will have a cake to celebrate Oregon’s Birthday!  Each organization may share a brief update for their upcoming year. (Try not to exceed 5 minutes).  Bring along brochures, etc. to exchange. Let’s make connections and work together to keep the history of our area alive!  RSVP by Feb. 12th to Jean at or 541-296-5785 or 541-980-7453.  Please leave a message if no answer.

5. Wasco County Original Courthouse 2019 Regional History Forum Series




Programs begin at 1:30 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the 1859 courthouse, 410 West 2nd Place, The Dalles behind the Chamber of Commerce / Visitors’ Center

Saturday, February 2

World War I, Part 1:  Stonehenge and the Great War

Washington State Park Ranger Mark Harris developed this PowerPoint for the 2018 centennial of the war and armistice.  He covers Sam Hill’s Stonehenge, the war’s beginnings, new technology used in the war, how uniforms differed between combatants, the role of women in the war effort, the trenches, the fall of empires and continuing effects of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Saturday, February 9

World War I, Part 2:  Living History and Music of the War

Ranger Mark Harris returns in full uniform and unpacks his old kit bag of items

 a soldier carried into World War I.  His first person “living history” presentation rounds out the story of the war that ended with the Treaty of Versailles 100 years ago.  Members of the Cascade Singers will offer some songs of World War I.

Saturday, February 16

Japanese Families in the Mosier Area Prior to 1942

Dave Wilson, Mayerdale history researcher, presented a program worth repeating at Wasco County Historical Society’s annual meeting in 2014.  Historic photos and family stories reveal a vibrant Japanese community on what is now the Mayerdale Estate and nearby properties prior to the World War II internment.

Saturday, February 23

The Town Above Celilo Falls:  Launching Site for the Upper River

Local historian John Brookhouse has family connections to the long-ago town that served as entry point to the upper Columbia River above Celilo Falls.  He has added to the maps and photos from last summer’s Wasco County Historical Society program and they’ve been enlarged for projection on the big screen.

Admission is free for the February programs. Donations gladly accepted! – Downstairs monitor for those unable to climb stairs. Coffee and cookies will be served. Become a member of Original Courthouse – help preserve local history!

6. How Do You See Your World?

Whether you know of him or not, a debt of gratitude is owed to the research into optimism and pessimism made by Dr. Martin Seligman. A past president of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Seligman is the author of numerous books on the subjects of optimism and pessimism and how they affect the way we look at our world and interact with it.

How do you find out if you are an optimist or pessimist? Ask yourself the question: How do I think when bad things happen to me? A pessimist lets the bad thing contaminate everything in their life: home, work, relationships – the works. It is called “globalizing.” An optimist, on the other hand, isolates the bad. “It’s just this one piece that’s not so good; everything else is OK.”

The other thing a pessimist does is “eternalize” the bad thing. “It’s awful now, and it’s going to be this way forever. Nothing is ever going to go right again.” An optimist puts a time-frame on it. “Yes, it’s going to be painful for a while, but I’ll get through it. Things will change for the better.” Pessimists have a tendency to take accountability for the entire mess they are in, whether it was entirely their fault or not, while optimists take accountability for what they caused, and realize that there were other factors involved.

Now, let’s turn it around. How do you think when good things happen? A pessimist calls it a one-time thing, believes it won’t last, and minimizes their part in the success. The optimist? An optimist lets the good things color everything they do, believes that it will last forever, and takes credit for their part in the success – “I caused it.” ~The Pacific Institute

7. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

Scam in Moro….

Blog: Question Everything

Incredibly Detailed Map Of The World’s Religions

Editorial: Improve Oregon’s public records law


Sherman County eNews #14

Editorial. The Appointment of a Sherman County Commissioner 

The Sherman County Republican Central Committee gave public notice of a vacancy for a Sherman County commissioner position and will meet on January 21st to interview and consider candidates for nomination. Pursuant to ORS 236.217, a slate of three to five qualified persons will be nominated for appointment by the Sherman County Court. Those interested in running for this position should contact Sherman County Republican Chair Chris Moore. 541-565-3516 or

Let’s think about the qualified, interested candidate!  

Are you the right person for the job?

Do you know what you’re getting into?

Could you be the one to make a difference?


Why do I want to become a county commissioner?

Check the answers that apply to you.

___ Concern over a particular issue

___ Opportunity to advance my career

___ Others are urging me to run

___ Use the skills that made me successful

___ Meet more people of influence

___ Achieve a level of prestige

___ Supplement my income

___ Stepping stone to higher office

___ Address problems facing the county

___ Desire to build a better future for my county

___ Provide a voice to constituents

___ Not satisfied with the current county government

___ Desire to make some needed changes

___ Gain a level of control in the community

___ Have prior experience in government.

We all benefit from informed, prepared and qualified candidates with an interest in contributing to the county community… for the right reasons. Yes, commissioners are compensated for their work, but it is not just a job. It’s a commitment to doing the best possible with the resources at hand to serve the most people in the county.

Ask yourself, “Why do I want to become a county commissioner?” Discuss it with your family to give them an idea of the responsibilities involved. Decide whether you have the time to do a good job for the county.

To be ready for the challenges:

  • Have a vision for the county’s future
  • Keep an open mind
  • Maintain high ethical standards
  • Know the issues
  • Know your constituents and the people who will work with you
  • Focus on what is best for the county
  • Be honest with the public, the media, and other officials
  • Have confidence in your qualifications
  • Separate your emotions from your responsibilities.

Here’s the Oregon Revised Statute:

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]

Let’s take a look at Sherman County’s government website.

Here is information about commissioners:

“Sherman County’s Board of Commissioners is made up of two elected Commissioners and the Sherman County Court Judge. Commissioners are elected to four-year terms. The County Judge serves a six-year term.

“In addition to its semi-weekly County Court meetings, the Board of Commissioners also performs as the Biggs Service District Board of Directors and serves on a variety of other local and regional boards and committees. See “Board/Committee Assignments” for the full list of Commissioner assignments.”

Let’s think about 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. 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 policies, budgets, personnel and programs of REGIONAL boards that provide services to Sherman County, including these:

  • Association of Oregon Counties
  • Community Renewable Energy Association
  • Eastern Oregon Rural Alliance
  • Frontier Regional 9-1-1 Dispatch Agency
  • Frontier TeleNet
  • Lower John Day Regional Partnership
  • Lower John Day Area Commission on Transportation
  • Mid-Columbia Community Action Council
  • Mid-Columbia Economic Development District
  • North Central Public Health District
  • Northern Oregon Regional Corrections / NORCOR (regional jail) 
  • Tri-County Communications
  • Tri-County Community Corrections
  • Tri-County Mental Health – Center for Living
  • Northern Oregon Regional Corrections / NORCOR (regional jail) 

… in addition to some LOCAL boards:

  • Biggs Service District
  • Early Learning Hub, liaison
  • Local Public Safety Coordinating Council
  • Sherman County Ambulance Service Plan Advisory Committee, liaison
  • Sherman County Board of Property Appeals
  • Sherman County Budget Committee
  • Sherman County Community Advisory Committee
  • Sherman County Fair Board
  • Sherman County Prevention Coalition
  • Sherman County Public/School Library Board
  • Sherman County Road Department Advisory Board, liaison
  • Sherman County School District, liaison
  • Sherman County Senior & Community Center Advisory Committee
  • Sherman County Soil & Water Conservation District, liaison
  • Sherman County Wasteshed, representative
  • Sherman County Watershed Coalition, representative
  • Sherman County Weed District Advisory Board

Then … County College, The Association of Oregon Counties & OSU

The Association of Oregon Counties: “The County College program began in 2006 in partnership with the Oregon State University Extension Service, and for four years, ran every year. Since the 2009 class, it has run every other year in odd years.

“Designed primarily for new commissioners and high-level staff, the program offers a comprehensive overview of the responsibilities and authorities of a county, and a county commissioner or judge, including legal, government ethics, public meetings and records, parliamentary procedure and much more. The class also covers the primary service areas of community & economic development, finance, human services, infrastructure & public works and public safety, in addition to sessions on leadership and management (risk management, communications, emergency management, personal and courthouse security, etc.). The strong partnership between counties and the Oregon State University Extension Service is also explored. With a class size of between 20 to 30 members, one of the most valuable benefits is the networking that takes place and the relationships that are built.”

See dates for County College classes here:

Last, but not least, the National Association of Counties (NACo).

A Research Brief by Research Director, Jacqueline J. Byers, November 2008, offers helpful information, excerpted here: 

“What do County Commissioners do all Day?

“County governments were originally created as administrative divisions of the states. Each state government in the country has designed, through its constitution and statutes, the authorities and powers that counties may exercise…

“Traditional state mandated services performed by counties include:

– General governmental administration

– Recording of deeds

– Property tax assessment and collection

– Law enforcement and corrections

– Judicial administration

– Poor relief (public welfare)

– Road, bridge and airport maintenance

– Recreation and parks…

“… Increasing population growth, and rising property taxes as a source of revenue, fueled county expansion into new formerly urban service delivery areas, such as:

  • Planning
  • Zoning
  • Solid Waste Collection
  • Mass transit
  • Communications
  • Parking
  • Sanitation
  • Transportation
  • Utilities (including water, electricity, cable television and gas) …

“How are counties managed? The governing officials in each county are elected either by district or at large by popular vote of the citizens…

“What does it take to be a county commissioner? In most states, the law requires that the candidate must have resided in the county for a set period of time, usually at least 12 months, and be at least 21 years of age. Another requirement in many states is that the individual has not been convicted of any crimes…

“What kind of experience is best for a county commissioner? County commissioners come from all walks of life. They can be teachers, nurses, lawyers, doctors, business people, farmers and homemakers. Recently, candidates have become younger and younger, including college students. There is no best experience for elected office, but any experience that may have provided knowledge about finance, budgeting, communications, law and personnel is beneficial…

“How does a county commissioner learn to do the job? Many states now make training available to newly elected officials. Many state universities have governmental training institutes that officials can attend. Some states require newly elected officials to attend training for a required period; others offer certification for training completion. If the state does not require or provide training, it can be obtained through national organizations, such as NACo, which sponsors “Newly Elected Official Training Institutes” at two of its national conferences, or from many state associations of counties, which often conduct “Training Sessions for Newly Elected Officials.”  [See Association of Oregon Counties]

“What does a county commissioner do all day? For most county commissioners, the position is a part time job… But the reality is that as an elected official you are on duty and on call for 24 hours a day. The most important thing that a commissioner does is stay in touch with constituents. Daily, a commissioner speaks with citizens about what they want…

“To effectively carry out the role of commissioner requires making decisions. To make good decisions, a commissioner needs good information. Gathering the necessary data and statistics requires time by the commissioner or staff. Meetings are a major part of every commissioner’s role. Regularly scheduled commission meetings, special sessions, and public hearings are a part of the job. Attending community functions such as neighborhood meetings, business openings, school activities, strawberry socials and club meetings is also required. Conducting meetings with citizens, as a means of informing them about issues, is another activity. A state-of-the-district meeting is conducted periodically by many commissioners. Establishing a working relationship with the media takes time and trust on both sides…

“Last, but not least, working closely with other members of the county commission to build coalitions… Building teams and creating support with fellow commissioners is how any elected official gets the job done. A majority is needed in every vote. Many counties have … officers that are responsible for other aspects of county government administration. These officers vary from state to state, but can include the sheriff, the coroner, the probate judge, clerk of court, auditor or treasurer, judges, tax collector or assessor and the recorder. Establishing a good working relationship with them and appreciating the responsibilities of each of these elected officials can make the job easier since in most instances the county commission must provide the funds for each of these offices…

“What issues are currently facing commissioners? Routinely, commissioners are faced with the task of raising sufficient revenue to run the government and provide the services expected by their constituents. Taxes and fees are the most common way that governments raise revenue and increases are not generally popular with citizens. An effective commissioner educates citizens about the need for increases to continue service delivery as they expect and to maintain the quality of life in the county. Mandates … from other levels of government are an ongoing concern for elected officials…

“Why do people want to be a commissioner anyway? Generally, what spurs people to become involved in local politics is a specific issue. Once they have become involved and learned how to work in the local political process they often discover that they have something to offer the community, and are interested in its future.

“An effective county commissioner can leave a legacy of good works and make an impact on people’s lives. It is the closest level of government to the people and one that provides the greatest challenge and creates leaders for the future.”