`Fruit basket' budget

Well, well, well, Dear John (Arens) has accomplished his "fruit basket" budget again. As a former Senior Service Advisory Council member, I was appointed to the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments' budget committee for 1999-2000. After two ineffective meetings, I think fiscal officers must have completed the budget. It was always interesting how two or three modifications were made during the year.

I asked the Oregon Project Independence manager to give a report to the advisory council. I asked for the budget amount and how many clients were served. The former executive director ordered her to leave. She never got to make a report. Then later, the OPI manager was fired. She filed a lawsuit against MCCOG.

Another lawsuit is pending from a foster home provider against MCCOG. John Arens could have stopped all of this by using some intestinal fortitude. Instead, he listened to the defunct past executive director of the Area Agency on Aging/Senior Services. Past MCCOG members also influenced him. He had the truth from the state of Oregon investigation and refused to act.

John calls himself a "volunteer" AAA executive director. He is executive director of MCCOG and Hood River County Commission chairman. In these positions, when there is conflict of interest, he excuses himself from any involvement or decision making. This is legal but ineffective government.

Is it time the voters of Hood River County make the decision for a new chairman of the county commission. Yours for less "Mugwump" politics,

Rachel Shields

Hood River

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