The Association of Oregon Counties is governed by an elected slate of officers and a Board of Directors. The Executive Director oversees the staff. In addition to regular meetings of the officers and the Board, the AOC Legislative Committee meets frequently during legislative sessions to keep abreast of current and pending legislation impacting Oregon counties. AOC has nine steering committees that focus on specific issues and challenges facing Oregon counties.
Each of Oregon's 36 counties is a member of one of eight AOC districts, which are based on geographic regions. Each district holds an annual meeting in one of the district counties and again at the Annual Conference each fall. The meetings are a key element of AOC's communications exchange.
2014 AOC Officers
Sherman County Judge Gary Thompson has been elected AOC President for 2014. Columbia County Commissioner Earl Fisher is now the Immediate Past President. Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens was elected First Vice President. Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall was elected Second Vice President. Polk County Commissioner Craig Pope continues as AOC's Treasurer. They join AOC Executive Director Mike McArthur on the AOC Executive Team.
The 2014 short session in the state Legislature was primarily defensive in nature, making sure proposed legislation would not harm counties. Even-numbered year legislative sessions in Oregon are designed to be short and deal with fixes to previously passed legislation and budget adjustments.
One of the major challenges for Oregon counties is public safety. Several counties are currently facing substantial public safety challenges due to lack of resources caused by federal forest practices, environmental protection laws and lawsuits. The tax system is also in need of reform.
“Most of Oregon, especially the rural counties, currently faces public safety challenges,” said Eric Schmidt, communications manager, Association of Oregon Counties (AOC). “A lot of factors have led to an erosion in law enforcement from patrols to guards at jails."
AOC is taking the lead in generating a proposed public safety package for the 2015 legislative session to try and combat these issues.
Inadequate management of federal forests is another issue causing uneasiness throughout the counties, he said. While the economy improves, the federal forests continue to deteriorate and timber communities suffer from lack of economic opportunity.
Congress is considering several bills that would change the rules for logging in federal forests, including one introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would revamp the management of 2.1 million acres of forestland in western Oregon.
“We hope Congress will act to improve the management of these forests in the next few years,” added Schmidt.
| Dear Kathleen, You have 3 elected County Commissioners in Deschutes County, Oregon; not a County Executive. This is what the counties can expect at their future hearings:|
Getting with the program: https://s3.amazonaws.com/khudes/Twitter12.31.14.pdf