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Board Chair Brings His Rock & Roll Soul To State Of Lane County

Rachael McDonald

Last year, Lane County voters passed a levy to fund jail beds.  This was one of the successes touted Monday morning. It was a "rockin" State of Lane County event.

Commission Chair Sid Leiken's theme for his State of the County Address was taken from a Van Halen Song:
Leiken: "For me in thinking about the State of the County this year. I was moved by the thought of 'right now'."
In listing the accomplishments of the past year, Leiken praised voters for approving a public safety levy that doubles capacity at the jail.
Leiken: "In the 6 months prior to the measure's passage and implementation more than 25 hundred offenders were released because the jail didn't have the capacity to hold them. Many were in jail for violent Measure 11 felonies. In the 6 months since the measure's implementation, this number has fallen to 830 capacity-based releases. No offenders in custody for Measure 11 felonies have been released because of over-crowding."

Leiken also touched on the controversial firing of former County Administrator Liane Richardson. She was found to have been converting her vacation and other compensation to take home pay without board approval.
Leiken: "The County Commissioners voted unanimously to change our county administrator. We replaced her with Alicia Hayes.  Interim Administrator Hayes has made some very positive changes in the organization. We have initiated a recruitment process for a new county administrator and expect to have that person hired early this year."

Leiken's hopes for 2014 include recruiting more businesses, implementing a 10 year plan for public safety, and finding a forest management solution for Lane County's public lands.  
Tuesday morning the board will elect a new chair.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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