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Union calls on Clackamas River Water board to resign
Posted On: Oct 08, 2012
The Clackamas River Water District headquarters building in Clackamas.

Local 350 members vote unanimously as the dysfunctional district veers toward inoperability

Employees of the Clackamas River Water District Employees have taken a unanimous vote of "no confidence" in the entire Clackama

Oregon AFSCME members at the Clackamas River Water District have taken a unanimous vote of "no confidence" in the entire Clackamas River Water Board, and called for the immediate resignation of all its members. The water district's workers say such immediate action is warranted because the current board's conduct is on the verge of threatening public safety, as the district could soon be without liability insurance and unable to operate.


The district has been unable to accomplish even routine business since July of this year due to well-publicized constant and pervasive fighting and bickering among members. Members have been hostile to one another and openly yelled during meetings. In one instance, a board member took out a local newspaper ad to disparage fellow members. One member resigned some time ago, leaving the current board in an impossible 2-2 split.


"My members have seen the board slowly devolve into the state of complete dysfunction it finds itself in today," said Kyle Yancey, President of the Local 350 sub-chapter that represents the district's workers.


"What began as an embarrassing media circus has now moved to the point of placing the district in serious jeopardy," said Yancey. "The district was recently notified that they will lose their liability insurance at the beginning of next year. Without liability insurance, our members cannot perform their jobs. If this happens the district will be unable to operate and 51,000 people will be without water, including many commercial customers."


Yancey says the union appreciates the efforts of board members Tami Kehoe and Barbra Kemper to restore a sense of unified purpose and action to the board, but nevertheless believes that the board as a whole is responsible for placing the district in peril.


"As such, we call for the resignation of all sitting members from the CRW Board," Yancey said. "We take this kind of a vote very seriously. I can't think of a time in recent memory when we've felt compelled to take such a strong stance. Unfortunately things are that bad on the water board right now, and the clock has elapsed on less forceful alternatives."


Should in fact the entire board heed the local's call and step down, the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners would appoint interim members until an election could be held. The district includes about 30 AFSCME-represented employees.




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