There has been discussion lately over how county commissioners should conduct their duties in relation to the county manager. The Daily Astorian has framed it as a controversy, an “Us vs. Them” argument.

If the issue is framed this way, we get caught in an unwinnable argument. All agree that elected officials haven’t been hired to run daily operations or to micromanage. We do expect our commissioners to ask tough questions, listen to their constituents, and make hard and unpopular decisions when needed. We don’t want our elected officials to exhibit group think, fearing civil discourse.

If we allow county managers, or any leader for that matter, to shape the narrative of a business, and we don’t ask questions or stay abreast of the information from all sources, then we allow that person to manage our tax monies without guidance or proper oversight.

The philosophy of being super hands-off allows poor leaders to run organizations into the ground. Often, I think good board members have an inkling something is wrong, but don’t know what to do about it, mistakenly thinking their hands are tied.

We must change this philosophy, because it benefits the leader who is unaccountable, and we taxpayers pay the price.

Mindy Stokes


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