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Joseph resident says state needs to examine city operation

By Steve Tool

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on October 30, 2018 4:09PM


It wasn’t only city council members squabbling at its recent meeting.

Joseph citizen Scott Reinhardt also spoke out. He mentioned he had served as president of a large city council (Newberg) as well as on the board of a large water district and state boards as well.

He agreed there was citizen frustration with the council. He said that the council’s “we’ve always done it this way” is just a “good ol’ boy” rule.

“Good ol’ boy rules don’t thrive and live in the 21st century,” he said.

He said that council member Patty Bufford (his domestic partner) shouldn’t be forbidden to call the city attorney. He also mentioned that he had heard someone erased the July 9 meeting recording and said that was punishable by law.

“It doesn’t take much to bring in the state ethics or the state attorney general’s office for the dysfunction that’s happening on this council,” he said.

He warned that having a city administrator (Sands) on the council could have legal ramifications. Sands said he had essentially been given the go-ahead by the League of Oregon Cities to serve in the role temporarily while the city searched for an administrator.

“You better find where the council made you administrator, because everything I’m hearing is you were made a liaison, so you’ve been usurping power under state laws that you were not given by this council,” Reinhardt said.

Sands said it was his understanding that he was the person in charge and a liaison.

“It doesn’t matter what your understanding is, it’s what the council voted on,” Reinhardt replied.

Reinhardt, who lives near the fire station, also said a loud hum from the generator there was annoying both him, his dog and his neighbors. He said the department told him it needed a new part about two months ago, but it still wasn’t fixed.

“It doesn’t take two months to get a part,” he said. Sands said he hadn’t heard about the noise.

Reinhardt also wanted to know why the city water was so cloudy.

Sands said it was probably because the city used the well rather than Wallowa Lake water while the city cleaned the sand filters for the lake water. He added the cloudiness was probably from air bubbles.

He also admitted the city hadn’t flushed its water lines in some time. Other council members noted they had heard complaints about water quality and Sajonia suggested some issues could be explained by the low level of lake water this year.



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