JACKSON COUNTY FOR ALL
GREATLY EXCEEDS THE NUMBER OF SIGNATURES NEEDED -- EARLY!!!
Jackson County for All Delivers Loads of Signatures Before the Deadline!
In less than five short months, over 200 Jackson County for All circulators collected more than 11,500 signatures for each of three measures to restructure the Jackson County Commis-sion. The number required was 8,351 for each measure. A group of JCFA supporters delivered a wagonload of petitions with 34,945 signatures to the Jackson County Elections Office on Tuesday. The group gathered near the steps to the County Offices at 10 S. Oakdale in Medford then walked to the Elections Office to turn in the signatures. The County Clerk's Office has thirty days to verify the signatures and approve the measures for the May ballot.
Our job is not yet done! To get involved in our campaign or to join our mailing list, click Get Involved above. We want to encourage a large turnout election come this May!
What do we propose?
Ballot Measure #1 Jackson County Commissioners to be Non-Partisan
Change the position of Jackson County commissioner from partisan to non-partisan.
Presently, the Commissioner position is our only local elected office that is partisan. County Clerk, Assessor, District Attorney, Justice of the Peace, Sheriff, and Surveyor are all non-partisan, as are all city council members, mayors, school board members, and board members of all special districts.
This will also allow non-affiliated voters, who comprise the largest segment of Jackson County voters, to participate in the primary election. All taxpayers pay for primary elections, but many cannot vote in them because they are non-affiliated or don’t belong to major parties that run candidates. With primaries no longer held along party lines, winning candidates will feel more accountable to all voters.
Ballot Measure #2 Increase the Number of Jackson County Commissioners
Increase the number of commissioners from three to five. Jackson County's governing body has been stuck at three members since 1853, when it was established. In 1860, the official census count was less than 4,000 people. Our current population is 223,259!
In 1978, Home Rule added an appointed County Administrator to manage the day-to-day operations of running our county. Our County Commissioners now set policy, act in a "quasi judicial" role in land use matters, and act as intermediaries between their constituents and the County government.
For the average citizen, the third role is by far the most important. By increasing the number of Commissioners from three to five, it will be much easier to connect with a Commissioner by phone, online or in person. It will also be easier to find a Commissioner who may become your advocate when you have issues with our County.
In a board with three members, two are considered a quorum. That means that just two people can set policy for the almost quarter million people living in Jackson County.
Ballot Measure #3 Decrease the Salaries of Jackson County Commissioners
Jackson County commissioners are the highest paid commissioners in Oregon and most of the nation. They even make about $45,000 more than Oregon's Governor!
Yet every year their salaries increase by both Cost of Living and by years of service while few of the people they serve have such generous increases in salaries or wages.
To fix this, Measure 3 reduces the current salaries of the present three commissioners to help with the expenses of adding two. Commissioner salaries will go down significantly, but their salaries will become more comparable to the salaries of Commissioners in other Oregon counties with similar demographics.
To prevent future "wage creep," future increases of commissioner salaries will be indexed to average wages within Jackson County.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is Jackson County Commissioner a partisan position?
Currently, it is a partisan position, although, over three-quarters of Oregon counties have already changed to non-partisan positions, including Douglas, Klamath, and most recently, Deschutes Counties. In Jackson County, every other elected office is elected on a nonpartisan ballot – Assessor, County Clerk, District Attorney, Justice of the Peace, Sheriff, and Surveyor.
When would this appear on the ballot?
More than enough signatures needed to qualify were delivered to the County Elections Office on February 20th. Once the signatures are officially verified, the three measures will appear on the May 2024 ballot.
What do current Jackson County commissioners do?
They approve the county budget and the sheriff’s budget. They attend other board and commission meetings, serve the ceremonial functions of the County, and set policy that applies to Jackson County. The day-to-day operations and hands-on management of the County is controlled by the County Administrator. A commission with five members would be far more effective than three in overseeing the complex operations and expenditures of the county, and would make commissioners more accessible to residents.
What should the Jackson County commissioners do?
In the past, Jackson County commissioners were responsible for overseeing the county’s management and administration, but in 1978, Jackson County Commissioners hired a County Administrator and passed those responsibilities to the County Administrator, making their jobs significantly easier, thus no longer justifying being the highest paid county commissioners in Oregon. Their main purpose is to represent the citizens of Jackson County.
What limits the effectiveness of the Board of Commissioners?
Current commissioners will have served 28 years between them with no term limits. Under the current partisan system, they are not accountable to a majority of Jackson County voters, and they are supported by corporate interests through political action committees (PACs). As a result, they have little incentive to work for many of the people of Jackson County, who they are elected to represent.
Why is this a problem?
Residents of Jackson County who cannot vote in our partisan primary election (non-affiliated voters) have no representation by elected officials. Without accountability to the citizenry, commissioners have missed opportunities that would benefit Jackson County. With the security and longevity of the current office holders, it has become easy for them to be reluctant to take on challenges that could make a meaningful difference for our County.
Why do we need more county commissioners?
The population of Jackson County has grown significantly enough to warrant expanding the Board to five commissioners. We have had three since 1853! With just three members, two commissioners are considered a quorum, meaning that two people can set policy for the whole county of nearly a quarter million residents! Additionally, most city councils, school, and corporate boards have five or seven members. Five commissioners would provide more representation for our growing county and give constituents more commissioners to approach on county-related matters.
What does it take for this campaign to be successful?
Jackson County for All circulators collected far more than the needed 10,500 signatures of Jackson County active registered voters for each of the three measures. The State of Oregon allows TWO years to collect signatures for citizens’ initiatives. Jackson County tightened that law to require signatures be turned in within ONE year. Ballot measures can be put on the ballot directly by the commissioners. Otherwise, the alternative was to pursue this as a petition initiative and deliver the signatures within the given time period. More than enough signatures were delivered to the County Elections Office to be verified for the May ballot.
These measures are supported by the following former Jackson County Commissioners:
Dave Gilmour 2003-2011
Sue Kupillas 1988-2004
Jeff Golden 1987-1991
Peter Sage 1981-1985
Carol N. Doty 1977-1979
Jon Deason 1973-1977 and 1979-1983