Happy New Year: Wishing for grace in transition

Every new year brings about its skein of shifting roles and responsibilities in our local leadership. Accompanying the annual period of transition is the continuation of service by other people whose posts and offices are unaffected by election, retirement or resignation.

At the start of 2013, we offer thanks in advance for the service by those who are elected as well as appointed.

Thanks, too, to outgoing Sheriff Joe Wampler and Chief Deputy Jerry Brown, for their years of dedicated service, so well commented upon by others in the article on page A6.

We wish for smooth transition periods for three particular individuals: the new mayor of Cascade Locks, Tom Cramblett; newly hired Cascade Locks City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman, and Matt English, the Hood River County Sheriff-elect.

The same goes to whoever becomes the next Port of Cascade Locks general manager, following the departure of Chuck Daughtry, and to the next superintendent of schools. Charlie Beck announced this fall he would step down at the end of the school year.

For our school leaders, we wish a large PERS-onal supply of pain relief medication, for they will need it to deal with the headache that will be the major increases in Public Employee Retirement System payments in the next couple of budgets.

Meanwhile, thanks should go to two men in Cascade Locks:

First to former Mayor Lance Masters, who was defeated in the November election but throughout 2012 in the hot seat of appointed mayor ship showed toughness and compassion for the community he loves.

Paul Koch, meanwhile, as interim city administrator for the past 16 months, deserves a big thanks from Cascade Locks for guiding the city out of a particularly rancorous late 2011, doing much to calm the waters throughout 2012.

While some key players in local government are on their way out, or in, it’s a welcome thing for the city of Hood River that citizens can still rely on the familiar, steady hands of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (re-elected); Mayor Arthur Babitz (re-elected in November); and County Administrator David Meriwether (who decided to stay put after declining a job offer in Deschutes County).

And, finally, best wishes in the coming State Legislative session to Sen. Chuck Thomsen and Rep. Mark Johnson.

The two men are no longer freshmen; they demonstrated in 2011-12 that they know their way around Salem, and more is now expected of them.

Perhaps Johnson’s unique dual role as local school board member and state legislator will give him a podium of sorts to help bring additional wisdom, if not resolution, to the whole matter of PERS reform.

Fixing the system, once and for all, is a transition from which all Oregonians will benefit.

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