As of Tuesday, May 16, 2017
To the editor:
I appreciate your Crosstalk feature. I would appreciate it more if you focused on local issues. I suggest a Crosstalk featuring the pros and cons of the continued existence of the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments.
A number of programs once operated under the umbrella of MCCOG but some have distanced themselves. The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is one of the last to operate out of the MCCOG office on Kelly Avenue in The Dalles.
Caroline Wood, a new, impressive, committed AAA director, was hired last fall. Like the AAA director before her she realized that the contributions required by MCCOG to cover its own overhead seriously compromised the funds available for AAA services including, among other things, Meals on Wheels.
Ms. Wood developed a cost-savings plan for the AAA which included separating from MCCOG and attaching to a different umbrella organization. At the MCCOG board meeting on April 25, 2017, the board members did not discuss the merits of the proposal from the perspective of delivering services to seniors. Instead, there was a request that the AAA not take any steps which would foreclose MCCOG options as it attempts to solve its own operational issues.
The meeting ended with one board member wondering if we were seeing the end of MCCOG.
The Chronicle is not adequately covering this story. Neita Cecil of The Chronicle attended the board meeting for the first agenda item and then left.
The only journalist covering the entire meeting was Roger Nichols of Haystack Broadcasting. (I submitted this letter before The Chronicle ran an excellent article by Neita Cecil last Tuesday. It's a good start.)
In a huge blow to the new energy and professional commitment she brought to the AAA, Caroline Wood has resigned.
The Chronicle should cover this story. Please investigate the history, purpose, and current challenges of MCCOG so that you can illuminate the pros and cons of MCCOG’s continued existence.
Sue Ann Arguelles