County renews with RCC, GP signed

A trio of administrative agreements were front and center at the Sept. 7 Board of Josephine County Commissioners’ meeting, held at the Anne G. Basker Auditorium in Grants Pass.
The RCC Student and Staff Pass Program is renewed annually and entails JoCo Transit receiving $30,000 from Rogue Community College to allow all students and staff of RCC to ride Josephine Community Transit vehicles for free, as explained by JoCo Transit Supervisor Scott Chancey.
“We do this every year and this is kind of housekeeping,” said Commissioner Dan DeYoung. “We have to approve this program every year and it helps out for students and staff to get to and from the school using the transit system.”
In Chancey’s report, he noted RCC students made up approximately 3% of transit users last year, with the percentage reaching as high as 18 in past years.
Next was a contract with Kunert Electric, LLC for site electrical improvements for the Jet-A Aircraft Fuel System project at Grants Pass Airport.
JoCo Airports Director Jason Davis reported that the improvements will cost $68,032 and will be paid for with American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
Lastly, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the county and city of Grants Pass for the 2022 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program award.
JoCo Finance Director Sandy Novak came to the podium and set the record straight, as the matter was referred to as an intergovernmental agreement but memorandum of understanding was more accurate.
“(A memorandum of understanding is) not as binding,” Board Chair Herman Baertschiger explained briefly.
The JAG will go towards new radio equipment for the Grants Pass Police. The MOU was signed because GPPD partners with the Sheriff’s Office in certain contexts.
“We do play well together,” Commissioner Darin Fowler remarked, referring to Grants Pass law enforcement and county law enforcement.
The commissioners recognized several long-term county employees during the meeting, including: Andrea Vanocker – Juvenile Justice, five years; Michelle Barnes – Community Corrections, five years; Jamie Johnson – Clerk’s Office, five years; Shari Householder – District Attorney’s Office, 10 years; Joshua Zabatta – Parks Department, 15 years; Douglas Whalen – Facilities, 25 years; Rosemary Seeburger – DA’s Office, 25 years; Annette Sorensen – Juvenile Justice, 25 years; and Calvin Harrison – Public Works, 25 years.

Community Corrections Director Nate Gaorian remarked that one of Barnes’ proudest accomplishments has been “demonstrating to her children that anything is possible no matter what circumstances life throws at you.”
DeYoung praised Gaorian’s tenure as Community Corrections director, saying, “I’m so glad you’re a part of that institution.”
Fowler said he is grateful for all the employees that stick with Josephine County for long periods of time, “because there’s probably plenty of reasons why you wouldn’t have to work in Josephine County… Community Corrections is an embodiment of that – people who want to be here and want to make it better.”

Baertschiger expressed his gratitude for all county employees, calling them JoCo’s greatest resource. “I don’t think they get the credit they deserve,” he added.

Barnes and Seeburger, the only recognized employees in attendance at the meeting, were awarded with pins and certificates. Other honorees were to be awarded these at another time.