Strommer made one bad decision

January 10, 2008 11:00 pm

To the editor:

On the question of who should replace Tom Butler as District 60 Representative, on Jan. 8 you published a letter from Don Giles in which he said of Deon Strommer, one of the contenders: "As an Education Service District board member, Deon focused on the key problems of ESD, financial improprieties and mismanagement. Through the efforts of Deon and others, they put ESD back on track."

Mr. Strommer — and others — did nothing of the kind. They fired the best administrator they had because the State of Oregon had charged him with 43 counts of racketeering and tampering with public records. The administrator, having previously been identified by the ESD's lawyer as the logical "fall guy," pleaded with the board (which Mr. Strommer led) to wait until the charges against him were decided by a jury. The ESD board fired the administrator anyway. After a two-week jury trial, a Union County jury found him not guilty, on all counts.

I can have no opinion about the other kind things Mr. Giles says about Mr. Strommer because I do not know. I do know that a major personnel decision made by Mr. Strommer as a member of the Union-Baker ESD Board was wrong and profoundly harmful to a good administrator and to the ESD.

Milo Pope

Baker City