No cost benefit analysis

On July 5th, The Gazette wrote a story about my request for information from the Linn County Disaster Recovery Committee.  You may have concluded from that story that I had received all of the information from the Committee at the time the story was written, but that was not the case.

At this time, I have supposedly received all of the information; yet, I cannot find a cost benefit analysis within the information I have received – which is one of the main reasons I requested the information.  I wanted to compare the life cycle costs of owning Westdale Mall versus owning Steve & Barry’s (Linn County West) versus owning the Administrative Office Building (AOB).

I cannot find the cost benefit analysis because it does not exist – it has never existed.  And today, a member of the Recovery Committee confirmed it has never existed.  That really wasn’t news to me because I had suspected all along that there never was a cost benefit analysis.

So let’s stop calling the decision to remodel and move back into the AOB a business decision because it’s not and never was a business decision – it’s a political decision.

And political decisions do not have to be based on real numbers or any numbers.

They are based on who is the incumbent office holder and who has the authority to make the decision.  In this case, three or more members of the Board of Supervisors get to make the decision.

And the next time someone – anyone says, “a new roof would cost this or repaving the parking lot would cost that or the air conditioning would have to be replaced”, ask them to show you a quote from a roofer or a road paver or an air conditioning firm.  If they’re referring to Westdale Mall or Steve & Barry’s, chances are they don’t have a quote and they have never seen a bonafide quote.

Here’s the information I was provided by the Recovery Committee.  Let me know if you see anything resembling a cost benefit analysis.

Meeting Notes



One Response to “No cost benefit analysis”

  1. Chris Says:

    Kudos to you, Mr. Miller for requesting, obtaining, and posting the notes from the Linn County Disaster Recovery Committee. As you point out, a cost benefit analysis has not been done. Thanks for informing the public that the Linn County Board of Supervisors have been lying to us all along.

    As I look at the members of this committee, whose meetings are not open to the public, I see that every person on the committee is either a Supervisor or they work for the Board of Supervisors. Thus, there is no objectivity:
    -Supervisors Lu Barron
    -Supervisor Ben Rogers
    -Gary Jarvis, Linn County Attorney
    -Joi Bergman, Linn County Communications
    -Garth Fagerbakke, Linn County Facilities
    -Dawn Jindrich, Linn County Budget Director
    -Steve Tucker, Linn County Finance Director
    -Phil Lowder, Linn County IT Director
    -Britt Hutchins, Linn County Purchasing
    -Lisa Powell, Linn County Human Resources Director
    -Darrin Gage, Linn County Director of Policy and Administration
    -Steve Estensen, Linn County Risk Management

    These people hold their conversations behind closed doors. From the notes you posted, it is obvious that they base their decisions on second or third hand information. The people who work in and receive services from the buildings in question are never included in the conversations, which is extremely inappropriate.

    Since the flood, the Supervisors have demonstrated their ignorance over and over again with their ill-informed and short-sighted decisions. Their lack of understanding of finances is truly appalling. A couple of these people, starting with Lu Barron, are just plain stupid. She has been in office for 13 years, and that is 13 years too long.

    When she is voted out of office, which she most certainly will be, it will take decades to repair the damage that she and her cronies have done. What a tragedy.


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