On Monday, Donnie Boyd officially resigned his post on the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, a seat he has held since 2016.
Boyd’s replacement will either be a short-term appointee or the winner of an upcoming election. The election winner’s term, however, wouldn’t start until 2023.
At 5 p.m. on Monday, Boyd’s time on the board officially came to an end. He had announced in November that he planned to resign, citing “personal reasons” for his departure.
On Tuesday morning, Boyd said he will work for Papé Machinery Construction and Forestry, mostly in the company’s California locations.
“My plans are to work with Papé Machinery and help them be the great company they are,” Boyd said. “I also want to spend good quality time with my wife and family.”
Boyd hopes the county commissioner who takes his place is committed to economic development and solving the water crisis, he said. Another important quality, according to Boyd, is having a passion to serve the community.
“I think whoever replaces me needs to have that same passion,” Boyd said. “I really appreciated the opportunity to serve the citizens of Klamath County ... It’s the county I love, and I was honored to be able to help Klamath County improve.”
Boyd wanted to make it clear that his accomplishments as a county commissioner were not achieved by himself, but were the product of the board as a whole.
Some of those achievements, he said, included keeping local road funds maintained, negotiating “some pretty horrendous” employee contracts, and building up and maintaining local law enforcement.
“Several things like that, that have been successful in Klamath, came from the commissioners as a whole,” he said.
Kelley Minty Morris, chair of the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, said that Boyd’s departure will not disrupt county business, as county government requires only two commissioners to reach a quorum.
“I am really excited by all the opportunities that are in front of Klamath now,” Minty Morris said. “My great hope would be that the next representative comes in and they really want to represent a community full of opportunity that is really growing and poised to do great things.”
Minty Morris hopes the person who fills Boyd’s seat has a positive attitude and is motivated to keep pushing forward.
“We have a lot of great momentum for positive change,” she said. “We hope to get someone who hopes Klamath’s best days are ahead of us, not behind.”
Commissioner Derrick DeGroot said he hopes his future coworker will have strong ties to the community and be invested in doing good work.
“I think we are looking for somebody who can take some time and think about things,” DeGroot said. “One of the things I’ve learned in this job ... I would previously have quick reactions to things, but I am forced to slow down and control my emotional reaction to things and take a look at how decisions impact the community.”
There must be an election to fill Boyd’s spot, according to state law. That election could take place in the spring and fall, but the winning candidate would not officially join the board until January 2023. Commissioners could appoint someone to fill the seat in a temporary capacity, or could welcome the election winner to join the board early and not have to wait until the 2023 start of their term.
“What is really important to me is that anything that is done is very transparent,” Minty Morris said. “That is my top priority ... it is the public’s ability and right to pick this person and the public will pick this person in an election.”
DeGroot said he is not concerned about appointing someone to fill Boyd’s spot anytime soon.
“I’d rather do it right rather than fast,” DeGroot said. “We can appoint someone, but we are also in the middle of an election cycle for that position.”
DeGroot said one reason the board might appoint someone prior to an election, or prior to the start of the next official term, would be if the workload became too much for the current two-person board.
Filings for commissioner position show there are three candidates at this time. They include former Klamath Falls Police Chief Dave Henslee, former Klamath Falls mayoral candidate James Garland, and Todd Gessele, who owns a media production company in Klamath Falls.
The deadline to file for elections in Klamath County is March 8. If one of the candidates gets more than half of the votes in the May primary, that person would be unopposed in the November election and presumably take office in January 2023, according to Rochelle Long, Klamath County Clerk.
If no candidate wins the majority of votes in May, the top two vote-getters will face off in a November runoff election. The winner of that vote would again take office in January 2023, Long said.