District members who lost vote hold meeting

SHADY COVE — Shady Cove Water District board members have been accused of holding an illegal meeting just two days after their defeat in Tuesday's election.

Roger Hays, one of five anti-water district candidates who overwhelmingly defeated pro-district candidates, said he began receiving telephone calls from concerned friends early Thursday morning.

"They said a meeting of the district board members was going on at the Trail museum and that I might want to check it out," said Hays.

He said when he arrived, the district's manager, Jim Collier, was conducting a meeting with three of four board members: president Dee Hawkins, treasurer Bob Hawkins and secretary Judy Shanrock. Shanrock's husband, Olin, defeated in his attempt to fill a vacant board position, was also at the table.

The Oregon Attorney General's manual on state public meetings law says, "In order to be considered a meeting, a majority of the board (a quorum) must be present to make a decision or deliberate toward a decision "¦ ORS 192.620 requires the public be notified and informed of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies. "¦ Meetings of a district board must be open to the public unless specifically exempted by law."

Hays said he told board members he thought they were holding an illegal meeting and violating Oregon law.

"They told me I was trespassing on private property and to leave," said Hays.

Hays left and while driving back to Shady Cove saw the remaining board member, Wayne Barnes, driving toward Trail, Hays said.

Judy Shanrock told a reporter the group was only holding a "training session," but declined to say what was being trained.

"It was just for what's going to be happening," she said. "You need to talk to Dee, she's the president. I'm just a board member."

Hawkins did not return a call asking for comment.

Collier who owns the Upper Rogue Museum in Trail, denied the meeting was for conducting official water district business. (Note: Information has been removed from the preceding sentence to correct it.)

"These board members are also members of several other boards," he said. "The group that was here was not conducting any district business."

He compared it to the board members accidentally eating at the same restaurant.

Hays said he remains unconvinced.

"If that wasn't a water district meeting I'll eat your hat," he said.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.

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