Strange College Reversal

This release was sent out by the college Wednesday afternoon.

Today, Wednesday, January 25, a concerned constituent sent a voicemail to Clatsop Community College board member Karen Burke questioning the validity of one member submitting their vote via email for opting out of the Linn County timber lawsuit. Board member Esther Moberg was not in attendance and submitted her information and vote via email.

Karen inquired to President Chris Breitmeyer about the citizen’s question and JoAnn Zahn, Vice President of Finance and Operations, quickly connected with Karen Smith, CCC’s general counsel at the Oregon Community College Association (OCCA,) to find an answer. Smith states that according to Oregon Public Meeting law a vote via email is not considered a valid vote by proxy, thus making Esther’s vote invalid and creating a 3-3 tie. According to Smith, a 3-3 tie means no action can be made concerning the opting out of the lawsuit.

Standard procedure of CCC board meetings is to ask board members to attend the meetings via conference call when unable to be there in person. At the last scheduled board meeting held on January 10th, Esther disclosed she would not be in attendance for the special meeting for the lawsuit and declined the opportunity to attend the meeting via conference call, She opted to write am email stating her reasoning and vote.

The special meeting for the lawsuit was set for the 24th due to board scheduling issues and all board members understood the written letter to opt out of the lawsuit had to be post marked by the 25th, making it a quick turnaround time. No one at the special board meeting questioned the validity of the email vote at that time.

Oregon Public Meeting laws also do not allow the board to meet without a 24 hour notice to the public creating a situation where the board cannot reconvene before the opt out deadline is over.

Inquiries to John DiLorenzo of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP law firm that is handling the Linn County timber lawsuit were submitted at noon today to find out if an extension is possible for submitting an opt out letter. No response has been received at this time. CCC does not expect any flexibility in the date but are awaiting a response. If the deadline is firm, the college will not have the time or opportunity to opt out from the class action lawsuit.

Julie Kovatch
Communications and Marketing
Clatsop Community College

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