Transition smooth for Crook court

Lundquist replaces Mohan on county commission

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: January 15. 2007 8:00AM PST

PRINEVILLE – The first meeting of the Crook County Court in 2007 saw business as usual: Land use disputes dominated the agenda, and the three commissioners unanimously passed a few motions.

But there was one major difference in the county court from its last meeting at the end of 2006.

Lynn Lundquist, former speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, had replaced Prineville accountant Mike Mohan as county commissioner.

Mohan, who lost his seat in November, takes with him expertise in math, accounting and computer technology.

But Lundquist, Commissioner Mike McCabe and Judge Scott Cooper said they think the transition will be a smooth one.

“Most of what we do is routine decision making about day-to-day business affairs,” Cooper said.

“Mike (Mohan) definitely had an interest as a commissioner in some of the technical aspects – he was our go-to guy on computers.”

Lundquist said he has extensive experience dealing with budgets at the state and county levels.

Lundquist started his political career as a member of the Crook County Planning Commission and represented Central and Eastern Oregon in the state Legislature from 1995 to 2000, when he left because of term limits.

“I’m certainly not an accountant, but from the financial end … I think I have a ton of experience in that and I think the court will see that,” he said..

“I’ve worked through all sorts of budgets much longer than these, and I feel comfortable doing that.”

Mohan said that some of the technological developments he worked on during his four-year term included improvements to the online Geographic Information Systems program, full-time technical support for county employees and a document management system in the Crook County Clerk’s office.

“I have installed computer systems, I’ve written computer programs, I’ve been involved in that for the last 20 years as part of my practice,” he said. “Maybe more than some CPAs are, but IT is something I have an interest in.”

Cooper said that different commissioners often have particular interests for which they become the point person.

Mohan said he hopes the commission will continue putting more county documents online so that citizens can access public documents more easily.

The court has given Sim Ogle, the county’s Web manager, more oversight in the information technology arena, McCabe said.

“I might as well have an abacus as a computer, so they’re not looking at me to fill any of that void, I’ll tell you,” he said.

Lundquist said he thinks the county’s IT personnel will be equipped to work on the computer systems aspects of county government.

Mohan added that planning for growth should also be a major effort for the commissioners, a goal that McCabe and Lundquist echoed.

All three of the current commissioners said they don’t think a switch from two Republicans and one Democrat to an all-Republican court will have many practical repercussions.

“(Mohan) is more conservative on a lot of issues than I was,” McCabe said. “At least to my knowledge, I’ve never made a decision based on party. I think that’s not proper – it doesn’t enter in at all.”

“I think one time we had a discussion in partisan terms and that was just a joke – we were voting on whether to get rid of a trailer in Paulina, Mike was wanting to burn it down and we were wanting to keep it, and we told him we thought the Demo-crats were for affordable housing,” Cooper said. “There really are no partisan issues at the local level. It’s about problem solving and Lynn’s a good mind; Mike was a good mind.”

Lundquist said he wants to respect the “learning curve” of being the newest member of the commission and get to know the issues facing the county better from a government perspective.

“I don’t want everyone to think I have these grandiose plans that are immediately all going to happen,” he said. “I continue to want to do the best job possible in following a fiscally prudent pattern as we look particularly at our infrastructure. I think all the needs coming down the road – no pun intended – with all the destination resorts and all the development in Prineville that we are going to have to be very, very judicious in the use of our resources, so I want to make sure that as we move forward we look at the long term.”

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