Tuesday, November 8, 2016

MWHITF: Meeting 8

No one following the events that led to the creation of the MWHI and the subsequent proceedings of its Task Force was surprised by the news that Polk County had decided they'd had enough.  There are ever only two choices when you're on a committee with Janet Carlson.  You  can either do things Janet's way, or you can leave.  Unfortunately, Janet can't even respect a decision to leave.

We've already talked about how  the leadership (Janet) refused to acknowledge or transmit the letter to the rest of the Task Force.  What's now known as the result of last night's meeting is that she is affirmatively misrepresenting the situation to the Task Force and the public, saying that Commissioner Wheeler sent a letter saying she had "stepped down from the Task Force", when the letter says quite clearly, "It is with full consensus...that we will no longer be participating."

When questioned last night, Commissioner Carlson flatly denied that Polk County had left the Task Force.  She admitted to receiving Steve Bobb's resignation, but not Heidi MacKay's, and averred that MacKay and Sheriff Garton were merely absent, knowing that not to be true.  She brushed aside a request to know Polk County's reasons for leaving, and attempted to cover up her efforts to enlist their replacements with a story that they were merely confirming that the Polk County charter had not been revoked.  (Yes, instead of repairing the relationship, she set about to find replacements.)  Obviously, the effort to find replacements was not successful.  The point is, however, that people who respect each other don't misrepresent or try to subvert each other's decisions.  And they certainly don't lobby the appointees of a co-Chair who's announced a consensus decision not to participate in further proceedings.  No wonder Polk County decided to leave. 

Not that any of this matters in the slightest to Polk County.  They already know how to collaborate and integrate services and put together resource guides and work with 211info and Salem Health and Tribal Leaders and all that stuff that we kind of suck at.  So where did this leave Marion County Monday night?  By ourselves, with a risible declaration* that "the charters...remain intact", and Janet's hand-picked, out-of-state $20K consultant, who, turns out, is an old friend and colleague. 

As at the meeting in October, attendance at last night's meeting was down.  Absent were Kathleen Ashley, Ron Hays, Sheriff Myers, and, of course, the Polk County contingent, Commissioner Wheeler, Steve Bobb, Sheriff Garton, and Heidi MacKay.  Irma Oliveros was present "as the representative for the [Salem-Keizer 24J] school district."  There were about 20 people in the audience.

After securing the memo's adoption, Janet gave a long, rambling introduction of Karen Ray, the consultant referred to above.  You can see Ray's Powerpoint here,  the recommendations she had the Task Force review during her 90-minute session with them here, and a draft "asset map" they did not go over here (it's not really an asset map -- unfortunately, no one on the Task Force seems to understand what an asset map is).

Karen Ray telling the TF they've planted a tree.

Karen Ray started by telling the Task Force they had already planted a tree.  She then tried to persuade them they wanted to continue caring for the tree after February 2017, by reconvening as a new, "more nimble organization" that would adopt and implement the Task Force's strategic plan document.  They just need to identify a "backbone" organization and funding for staff.  (Janet made clear no more staff support from the County after February 2017.)  If you're wondering whether the $20K paid Ms. Ray might've been better spent, so are we.  We might have more to say about this meeting at a later, date.  Right now, though, we're feeling kind of disgusted with the whole business.

At the end of her session, Ray asked the Task Force a series of questions she wanted them to answer on a scale of 1-5 fingers, 1 being the least positive, 5 being the most positive.  At left is what one Task Force member thought of the Task Force's ability to identify a "backbone" organization to lead the implementation phase.

Took a backbone to make that call.  

*The "Update" memo, which the Task Force adopted unanimously, is apparently intended to reassure the public that, contrary to fact, nothing about the Task Force has changed.

Willamette Wakeup's Report on the Meeting

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