County Board of Commissioners to meet nominees on May 8

By By Terri Harber April 19, 2013 11:23 am

By Terri Harber

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Baker County commissioners plan to schedule a special meeting on May 8 to hear from finalists seeking to fill the open board seat.

Carl Stiff resigned on Monday because of health issues.

The Baker County Republican Central Committee will nominate three to five candidates to replace Stiff, a Republican who had been serving in that partisan office.

Local GOP officials convene May 1 to meet hopefuls and conduct balloting until they choose the solid, but short list, of nominees to endorse.  

Commission Chairman Fred Warner Jr. and Commissioner Tim Kerns will appoint someone from that list to fill the seat. 

Commissioners will announce their choice either May 8 or May 15.

Kerns echoed comments made by Warner about Stiff earlier in the week. 

“He is a positive guy — so enthusiastic,” Kerns said Wednesday. “He’s been a great guy to work with. I’m going to miss him.” 

Mark Bennett is eyeing the job. He directs the county’s emergency management operations, the planning department and serves as city manager of Unity. 

The Herald contacted him Thursday to confirm information passed on to the newspaper informally.

“Personally, I think I could do a good job as commissioner,” Bennett said.

He said his work with the county and his ranching on the side provides him with the ability to “understand both sides, their challenges. 

“And I would like to work on them.”

Bennett, 60, a Unity resident, also is a candidate for a seat on the Burnt River School Board. He’s running unopposed.

Heidi Martin, the county’s human resources director, said she will be examining whether Bennett might face conflicts of interest as a county employee and commissioner if he is chosen to replace Stiff.

It might require some recusals or a change in his full-time work responsibilities to make the arrangement work, she theorized.

Bennett said he’d be open to changes that could be necessary if chosen.

Commissioners are part-time workers who receive an annual salary of $15,425. The chairmanship is a full-time position and pays $70,270.  The amounts are based on the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. 

These elected county representatives receive benefits. 

Potential nominees must be registered Republicans who live in Baker County.

Suzan Ellis Jones, head of the committee, said anyone interested in the commissioner’s position must submit a résumé and letter of intent by Monday, April 22.  Her telephone number is 541-519-5035 and her email address is devilscanyon This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it