Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist and Will Tucker on Tuesday morning approved a motion to support the possible merger of the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments and the Community Services Consortium.
Commissioner John Lindsey was in opposition.
Tucker said he attended a recent meeting which the possible merger — which he emphasized could be years away — was discussed.
He said that with the recent resignation of COG executive director Fred Abousleman, the timing was right to research the potential merger, since the two organizations provide some overlapping services to residents of Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties.
“What came out of the meeting is whether there is a motion of support from each of the governing bodies to proceed with researching the possibility of a merger,” Tucker said. “If there are no outstanding objections, things will proceed. There are many questions that need to be answered and it will not happen today, next month, maybe in two years.”
Tucker said COG has begun a search for a new executive director and he and others are wondering if that search should be revised to look for someone with an overarching management plan for the two organizations.
The Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments is governed by a commissioner from Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, plus representatives from cities, tribes and a port.
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The program is based in Albany and provides services in community and economic development, senior and disabled services, caregivers, transportation, food security and Medicaid assistance.
Community Services Consortium is based in Corvallis and its governing board are the nine commissioners who represent the three participating counties.
It provides assistance in job and finances; education and training including Head Start; food and nutrition; and affordable and safe housing.
The consortium was founded in 1980 and is one of 18 community action organizations in the state.
Board chairman Nyquist said he supports studying the possible merger.
“No things are life are certain,” Nyquist said. “The end result of a merger could result in a stronger organization that provides more efficient and better services to the taxpayers, our customers.”
Nyquist added, “Structurally it makes sense, but I hope the process doesn’t end up in personalities in such a trepid way that it doesn’t lead to the necessary buy-in we need.”
“The devil is in the details,” Lindsey said. “It will take a roadmap to get from A to B.”