As the descendent of generations of farmers, I understand our land and water is our future. I attended most of the April 24, 2018 Thurston Conservation District Board Meeting. I would not have attended nor paid attention to this without being given a wake-up call by Olympia Indivisible members. Although OI did not formally endorse anyone in the recent election, we encouraged people to educate themselves and vote accordingly to elect a new Board member. This wake-up call is one of the major reasons I am so engaged in Olympia Indivisible. Our knowledgeable members who have experience in so many areas are sharing their knowledge and giving us the chance to have real impact on our government and lives. This Board meeting reinforced the importance of everyone paying attention to and participating in our local government.
I was appalled by the disrespectful, illogical actions of certain board members which are guaranteed to destroy this organization unless it is turned around. The insinuations by certain board members toward staff and Samantha Fleischner, a departing Board member, and staff were obvious and insulting. Certain board members also don't understand how grants work and that they cannot just decide based on their own whims where and how to spend grant money. That is a generous explanation of their actions. I noted that the COLA (cost of living) adjustment presented by the staff, according to the board approved budget and current district policy was not approved by the board. They did this so speedily that I was startled, given the disorganized and obsessive discussion on every other subject the Board discussed. I commend the Acting Executive Director, Sarah Moorehead, on her professionalism, steady manner and ability to be rational, consistent and respectful when some others around her were not. Paul Pickett is scheduled to take his place on the Board next month according to my understanding and he will have a difficult job in front of him, influencing this troubled body to reform and act in the public's best interest.
I plan to attend the Board meetings of an organization I did not know existed as often as I can because of the impact it could have on conservation education and our surrounding farm lands and water. I also encourage you to pick something close to your heart and get engaged. Connect with your fellow OI members to find out their expertise/interests. Or come to the next TCD public hearing on May 10th from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the Thurston Conservation office 2918 Ferguson Sat. SW, Suite A Tumwater where an important rates and taxes proposal will be heard.