|The Clackamas River Water District headquarters building in Clackamas.
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
"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
"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
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.