The Creswell Chronicle -

By Erin Tierney
The Creswell Chronicle 

Creswell Budget Committee a family affair?

 

February 15, 2018



CLARIFICATION

In the Feb. 15 edition of The Chronicle, in an article about the Creswell Budget Committee, a quote was not made clear. There was confusion as to whether Mayor Stram actually used the word “nepotism” in his interview; he did not. The sentence read: “Stram also said that the appointments ‘could certainly give that impression (of nepotism).’” Parentheses around words in quotes are used to clarify what is being discussed and to make it clear that words within parentheses are not actually the original speaker’s words. It is also to be clarified in this article that Carter McReynolds, Linda Warner and Joshua Knudsen were appointed in 2017; Kevin Prociw and Ted Romoser were appointed in February 2018.

The Creswell City Council made their final appointments to Creswell Budget Committee, creating an interesting makeup for the committee.

Councilor Misty Inman appointed Kevin Prociw while Councilor Amy Knudsen appointed Ted Romoser at this week’s meeting. But to add to those seats are two sets of spouses and a pair of siblings serving on the committee.

Also on the Budget Committee are Linda Warner, Carter McReynolds and Joshua Knudsen. Council President Richard Zettervall is married to Warner; Councilor Martha McReynolds Jr. and Carter McReynolds are siblings; while Councilor Amy Knudsen is married to Joshua Knudsen.

Also noting this pattern, Mayor Stram told The Chronicle that he did initiate a conversation with council about the perception of nepotism with these appointments.

“There isn't anything in the City Charter or City documents related to family relations (serving together),” but also said that the appointments could “certainly give that impression (of nepotism),” Stram said.

In order to serve on the Budget Committee, the appointee must be registered to vote and a citizen of Creswell, he said.

Mayor Stram noted that councilors did not make appointments for their relatives to serve on the Budget Committee. He said that Carter McReynolds was appointed by Council President Zettervall; Warner was appointed by Councilor McReynolds; and Joshua Knudsen was appointed by Councilor Gary Mounce.

In the ethics manual for public officials put out by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, it is stated that “if a public official has a relative or a member of the public official’s household who has applied to be or serves as an unpaid volunteer, the public official may participate in any personnel action that involves the relative or member of the household. This provision only applies to unpaid volunteers who provide services to the public body and does not apply to unpaid volunteers who serve or seek appointment to a governing body of a public body [ORS 244.177(3)(a) and (b)].”

Mayor Stram said that this isn’t necessarily a common occurrence, though it does happen sometimes. He said that he attends many mayoral and city meetings in Oregon, and has run into husbands and wives that both serve on council.

“It’s (the council’s) prerogative to make that selection (of appointments) and the councils did,” Stram said.

The Budget Committee “can talk to citizens of the community about the budget, can talk to the City about it, but cannot confer with one another between budget meetings,” Mayor Stram said. He said he made a strong point to express this to the Budget Committee.

“I know all these people referenced are all independent thinkers,” Mayor Stram said, noting that those on the committee have a common interest in serving the City.

 
 

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