Residents weigh recall efforts amid board of commissioners controversy

The efforts come after an Oregonian report that two members misused county funds.

Posted: Jan 27, 2020 7:47 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2020 8:59 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- A handful of Douglas County residents are looking into recalling the board of commissioners for allegedly misusing county funds.

This comes after the Oregonian reported that two members of Douglas County's board of commissioners, Tim Freeman and Chris Boice, used more than $43,000 of county money for unnecessary travel expenses and other items the last six years.

The report claims the money they were using comes from the Secure Rural Schools Title III Act, which is a national law that gives rural counties safety net funding for wildfire protection, firefighting and education.

The Oregonian also purchased more than 700 pages of public record receipts detailing the spending.

KEZI 9 News obtained those receipts and most of them cover hotel, air fair and meal costs.

A county spokesperson said the spending represented on the receipts showcases the expenses commissioners used for trips to advocate for the county in different parts of the state and country.

“They are fighting back in Washington, D.C., and all these places for responsible forest management,” said Tamara Howell, the county spokesperson.

However, Tatiana Resetnikov, a Winchester Bay resident, said the money from the Secure Rural Schools Title III Act shouldn’t be used for commissioner trips, whether they are for business or not.

She said it should be going back into county programs.

That’s why she and a few residents are looking to file an official recall petition, urge the state legislature to do an audit, or organize resignation rallies.

She said a few residents have already held one rally before a county commissioners meeting on Jan 22.

“I don’t think the commissioners are listening to us,” said Resetnikov. “However, we are making efforts to put information out to citizens.”

The county's spokesperson told KEZI 9 News that the commissioners responded to all of the residents' concerns at that same meeting.

In addition, the comissioners released a few letters to the community addressing the Oregonian’s allegations and resident concerns.
Howell said those opposing are entitled to their opinions.

She said she also wants everyone to know that the commissioners are always willing to talk about any concerns face-to-face if needed.

To read a letter from member Chris Boice, click here.

The board of commissioners has issued two letters. To read the letter from Jan. 23, click here.

Below is the full letter from the board from Jan. 21:

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