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Commissioner Recall Petition;  Mallams, Bellet not surprised by action; County leaders say they do not regret any decisions

  by SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 7/11/13

     Klamath County Commissioners Jim Bellet and Tom Mallams say they aren’t surprised a recall petition was filed against them just a day after the sixmonth grace period of their four-year term of office.

   Shannon Roberts, of Klamath Falls, filed recall petitions Tuesday on both of the new commissioners. The first day such an action could be filed was Monday.

   Both Mallams and Bellet said Wednesday they were expecting the filing.

   “The reason I wasn’t surprised was they had already said they were going to do it,” Bellet said. “They were waiting for six months and boy they made it by one day.”  “I’m not surprised,” Mallams said, “but they’re argument, there’s no substance to it.”

   The form Roberts filed gave the reason for recall as:

   “We citizens feel our demands and needs are being completely ignored. We’ve spoken our concerns and petitioned by the multi-thousands and it appears the commissioners are not keeping their promises of putting the communities’ needs first.”

   Roberts has spoken against the coordinated care organization negotiations and the choice of Cascade Health Alliance as the county’s CCO. The Oregon Health Authority made that selection, but the county had to contract with the company.

   Mallams said the county had   no control over what CCO was chosen. In addition to the state making the choice, he said no other companies stepped up to the plate.  

   “There is one candidate,” Mallams said. “That’s it.”

   Mallams guessed the recall effort might stem from more than just CCO issues. He knows other decisions, like opposing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, cutting funding   to the Klamath Basin Senior Citizens’ Center and cutting some funding to the county trapper,   have been controversial.

   “I’m going to assume that there’s a lot of other motivation behind this,” he said. “I’ll stand by the decisions we made, even on all the controversial ones.”

   Asked if the recall made him rethink any of his decisions so far, Bellet said “no.”  

   “I think I make rational, logical decisions at the time,” Bellet said. “Probably not everybody’s going to agree with it, but that’s what I feel is best for the county at the time. Those are the decisions I make.”

   Mallams said he believes the decisions he has made have saved taxpayers money and helped the county manage its finances.

   “That’s one of the things, as a commissioner, we said we were going to do,” he said. “We were going to streamline government and save the taxpayers dollars. All these instances are doing exactly what we said we were going to do in the campaign.”

    stipler@heraldandnews.com  ; @TiplerHN  



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