The structure of Klamath County government will not change after Commissioners Kelley Minty Morris and Donnie Boyd again opposed Commissioner Derrick DeGroot’s proposal to consolidate departments heads.
Minty Morris and Boyd repeated concerns they voiced last week when DeGroot first presented his plan last week that would include just five department heads: public works, health and human services, legal and corrections, and administration.
Boyd was concerned about the cost associated with giving some department heads additional responsibilities and the morale of those who currently lead departments but who would then report to a new boss. Minty Morris doesn’t feel that adding more layers of management and administration during a pandemic when so many are unemployed and frustrated with government is a good move. Still, she said she sees the need for improvement.
DeGroot has proposed changing the county structure for the last three years in various different forms and called this latest approach a step toward his ultimate vision. He doesn’t plan to give up the task.
“I still believe it’s the right thing to do to take a look at our overall structure and the way that we’re able to deliver services to the citizens in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, while still giving commissioners the opportunity to do the other pieces of the jobs that really are what’s going to move us to that next step as a community,” DeGroot said. “We’re talking growth and revitalization, and that’s where I want commissioners today, and in the future, to focus their efforts.”
The board also approved new liaison responsibilities for 2021. However, the board kept chair appointments the same as they were in 2020, with Minty Morris as the board chair and DeGroot as vice chair. Traditionally, chair responsibilities rotate each year, but DeGroot proposed leaving the responsibilities the same.
“I’d like to see us leave the chair structure the way it is today,” DeGroot said in Tuesday’s public meeting. “I think that there’s a lot of reasons for that we don’t need to get into, but I think that will help us function the best.”
Boyd asked DeGroot why he wanted to leave the chair assignments the way they were.
“I believe it is functioning well the way it is today,” DeGroot said. “I believe Commissioner Morris is doing a good job with chairing this board, and I’m happy to leave it like that.”
“I mean I’m great with that, I’m just trying to put it together, I’m just asking questions,” Boyd said.
“Because I don’t trust ya” DeGroot told Boyd.
Boyd left the meeting after that, saying he was fine with approving the assignments as DeGroot proposed them before leaving.
Minty Morris and DeGroot voted to approve the liaison assignments after Boyd left.
DeGroot had no comment about his comments to Boyd. Boyd could not be reached for comment by press time.