Friday, October 21, 2016

MWHITF: Leadership Ignores Polk County's Departure

The remaining Task Force co-Chairs continued Wednesday and Thursday to refuse to acknowledge receipt of Polk County's notice that they don't intend to participate further in proceedings.  See here.

Wednesday, during a meeting of the Support Services/Education committee, staff was overheard telling a committee member, who'd asked if it was true Polk County had backed out, that there were always rumors flying about the community and that the (remaining) co-chairs would be meeting Monday to talk about it.  Talk about what, if it's just a rumor?  

Yesterday, after the Transitional Housing/Shelter committee meeting, we asked staff the time and place of next Monday's meeting, as we would like to observe the proceedings on behalf of the media (specifically, our community radio station, KMUZ 100.7 FM).  We were told "I'll have to ask Janet."  She meant, of course, she'd have to ask Janet if she could tell us. 

Now, for those of you who might not be familiar with Oregon's public meetings law, it's okay to exclude the public from executive sessions like the ones the co-chairs have been conducting each month, but they're supposed to be noticed (which they haven't been), and it's generally not okay to exclude the media.  Somehow, we doubt we're going to be given the time and place of the meeting.

As if all this is not weird enough, we've also learned that, according to staff, the committees will be shutting down after Thanksgiving, and, after that, it's up the "the organizations" (the area providers, that is), to carry through on the Task Force recommendations.

Wonder if they know that.

We also wonder how the above "plan" fits in with the plan for the four MBAs from Willamette?  See here.  Who're they developing performance measures for?  Are they, then, going to monitor these other organizations' performance?  What happens when they graduate in May, if we haven't managed to end homelessness by then?  How is the Task Force's strategic plan, once they finish it, going to avoid the fate of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness -- you know, the one Janet said needed meat on its bones, the one that never went anywhere?  These matters are barely mentioned at Task Force meetings, and never discussed, at least not in public. 

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Support Services/Education committee had an informative presentation from the folks at 211info, then got lost in the weeds listening to Janet and Walter Reed talk about Community Data Link and ran short of time to work on their recommendations.  They just barely managed to get out a third rewrite of two adopted and described previously as being "variously and vaguely worded" and "having something to do with promoting"

1) WorkSource Oregon "as a hub to strengthen collaboration among local workforce development providers or agencies", and 2) Cherriots' efforts to "train providers on how to connect clients and transit services", staff to reword as needed for official purposes.   

The third rewrite produced this version:

Promote collaboration among local service providers and Worksource Oregon to maximize workforce development by:
a. Increasing communication among service providers, and providing organizational training to help case workers prepare their clients for referrals to Worksource Oregon.

b. Referring clients to Worksource Oregon for job skills training, employment workshops, educational opportunities, and job placement.     

What do you think?  Better?  Or worse?  The rewrite drops the Cherriots piece and adds words without adding clarity, so we'd say worse.

But we'd also say it doesn't matter, for reasons too numerous to mention, but come down to what's been said from the beginning: the process was flawed, so, naturally, the recommendations -- all of them -- are rubbish.  Even if they weren't, there's no viable implementation plan.  That's why Polk County called it quits; continuing was just a waste of their time.  But rather than deal with an admittedly difficult situation, the leadership has chosen not to recognize Polk County's departure at all, and continues to deliberate in secret.

Ever on the verge, the Task Force has finally entered the realm of farce.

Except it's not very funny to people sleeping in the streets, the woods, their cars, in others' homes or shelters, is it?

6pm on 10/21 UPDATE:  No reply to our request for the date and time of Monday's co-Chairs meeting:

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