By Pat Caldwell
Not too long ago members of the Baker County Board of Commissioners could expect a specific workload when doing the people's business.
The work focused on budgets, setting policy and overseeing the various county department chiefs.
But times change.
Now a commissioner slot often translates into a large number of meetings, late nights and extended travel that stretches across the sage steppes of southeastern Oregon to the Willamette Valley and back again. And, as more and more issues tied to state and federal regulations - concerning everything from timber to water - descend on the local area, the role of commissioners has expanded.
The decision by the county compensation board to boost commissioner Mark Bennett's hours - from a quarter-time position to a half-time slot - is just one of the more recent examples of how the political landscape in Eastern Oregon has changed.
The move boosts Bennett's salary from $16,000 a year to $32,000.
See more in Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald.