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Novak rejects criticism of emergency manager

Other commissioners defend Hillsboro’s economic director in spat over request for document

Staff writer

A county commissioner lashed out at Hillsboro economic development director Anthony Roy Monday, prompting other commissioners to bicker back at her, defending Roy and slamming the county emergency manager a second time.

According to commissioner Dianne Novak, whose term ends in January, Roy was himself to blame for poor communication with county emergency director Randy Frank that led Roy to file an open records request for a copy of the county emergency operations plan after emailing back and forth with emergency manager Frank to no avail.

Commissioners met with Frank a week ago, hearing his side of the story and telling him he needs to improve his communication skills. They told Frank also that he should have had a redacted copy of the emergency play available for anyone who requested it.

Roy said Monday that after two weeks, Frank asked Roy to meet with him, but by that time he had already decided to file an open records request.

Novak interrupted to ask why he had not met with Frank who was, Novak said, trying to help him.

“My opinion is that the communication breakdown comes from you,” Novak told Roy.

Novak contended also that Roy hadn’t answered Frank’s questions about what he wanted from the county’s plan.

“I would dispute that I didn’t tell him what I needed,” Roy said. “I told him I wanted the whole plan.”

“This is a document that needs to be in the hands of every clerk and maybe every school district,” Becker told Novak.

“There should have been a redacted copy already available,” Gehring said.

Gehring said others in the county need to know what to do if Frank can’t be available to guide them during a crisis.

Gehring added that it doesn’t appear Frank was being transparent.

“This plan is not exempt from public record,” Roy said. “Parts of it may be.”

“You’re not the only person who’s been turned down the same way you were turned down,” commissioner Randy Dallke told Roy. “And this was more than a year ago. That’s not the kind of person I want for us.”

Novak complained that two other commissioners — Gehring and Becker — knew more about Roy’s problem getting a copy of the plan than she had.

“It was our district,” Gehring said.

Gehring said he and Becker had tried to deal with the dispute without having to bring it to the commission.

Frank gave commissioners his side of the story during the Oct. 19 commission meeting after he was put on the agenda: that the plan had to be redacted before he released it and no one asked for the plan before.

Commissioners told Frank last week he should have had a copy of the plan available, redacted if it needed to be, and ready to go when someone asked for it. They also said Frank needs to do a better job of communicating with people.

Hillsboro mayor Lou Thurston and city administrator Matt Stiles attended Monday’s meeting by teleconference.

“I appreciated commissioners Gehring, Becker, and Dallke for their support for our employee and giving him the opportunity to tell his side of the story,” Thurston said.

Last modified Oct. 29, 2020

 

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