Lincoln County… we have lift off! Thank you again for your vote and support! I have taken the Oath of Office.
Swearing in Ceremony commenced Tuesday and I participated in my first Board meeting as your new County Commissioner Wednesday. It was both a relief and satisfying experience. I have attended and produced over 700 BOC meetings in my tenure with the county. But, moving from the audience to stage was something quite different.
The last few days have been comprised of getting routine things situated at the courthouse to become productive. By the end of the week I had a functional space to work and my technology squared away. Many positions at the county are highly reliant on computer technology. Friday I was feeling more confident and excited as my focus improved.
“Before entering upon any elective office listed in ORS 204.005, the person who has received a certificate of election must qualify by filing with the county clerk of the county in which the person is elected the person’s oath of office, subscribed by the person, to the effect that the person will support the Constitution of the United States and of this state, and faithfully carry out the office being assumed.” (Chapter 204 County Officers 204.020)
I went off the grid most of December. Perhaps, I should have
shared that with you. If you have
reached out to me on social, I am just getting back online and beginning to
Moving forward the most effective way for us to communicate
will be email, phone, and in-person. You can find me online – Board of
Commissioners section of the county website. BOC meetings take place 10 AM every
Wednesday and are broadcast and archived online.
Today, is better than expected. I feel rested and the most
excitement thus far regarding my continued future in public service. Tomorrow, I’ll
be sworn in as new County Commissioner and begin my first of day of work as an
elected official. The length of term is 1,460 days – 4 years.
I do feel it’s prudent to recognize some my problems are problems
of abundance. I want to be mindful of that. Gratitude. My suffering is superficial
in many ways.
I went off the grid quite a bit in December. It’s been a period of family time, rejuvenation, deep house cleaning, reflection, anxiety, doctor visits and wandering. I am grateful to have employment that has the capacity to provide for the health and welfare of its work force.
Time away was more needed than I realized. Yet, my brief sabbatical
revealed many self-narratives that are simply an illusion. The capacity of the
human mind to conjure and fabricate is without limits it seems. I discovered the
great importance of mindfully stepping away from constant mentation and the difficulties
I impose upon myself with my own relentless obsessions. These can become barriers
to enjoying the “here and now” whether intentional or accidental.
Many have asked “are you excited?” Truthfully, I’ve been
more nervous than elated. I have a bit of imposter syndrome (minus the fraud
aspect). More joy and less fight or flight? Yes.
Perhaps, I take it all too seriously? But I doubt it. I’ve witnessed the complex systems
of government that are fragile because of interconnected inefficiencies; convoluted
systems that become self-serving life forces of their own. Has culture and
society always been so messy?
My work ethic is robust. I enjoy it, really. Not working seems to be more of a challenge for me. Yet, I digress… and with that I may have identified one of my bigger shortcomings and needed area of self-improvement. I am hyper deductive. It takes me awhile to get comfortable and establish my own certainties. Couple that with my own propensity to endlessly ask “why” when the “how” and “what” are more immediate.
Even as I write this essay, I sense my propensity to be philosophical
instead of exploring the tangible and concrete. Why is this? Curious.
What is on the agenda for Casey the Commissioner In the coming
weeks and months?
A few priorities:
Broadband. There is urgency. Before these financial
opportunities fade, I will work to increase internet connectivity throughout
Emergency preparedness. A perennial objective. Too
easily we drop our guard both at home and at our places of business. Let’s
Shelter as fundamental need. We need more of it.
How can we create a paradigm shift to providing shelter to all?
Understand our work culture. I am curious to learn
from our management team and employees. I am curious to listen and understand what
is working and what needs improvement for Team LC.
Understand our community and open lines of
communication. How can I both upstream, downstream and engage our many
Deliver and sustain the customer service people
expect from county government. This includes being mindful of the future delivery
of essential services in times of abundance and anticipated/cyclical financial
Secure the immediate needs and sustainability of
the Board of Commissioners office to provide flagship customer service
internally and externally.
Spending time in Salem. Whether it’s decoding
the short session legislative activity, engaging with our State representatives,
and interacting with the Association of Counties (AOC) – I’ll be spending more
time at the capitol. Advocating for our community.
Ok… a feel a little better getting off a few bullet points.
Let’s return to the pondering and nebulous reflection…
On the campaign trail I struggled to answer the questions
asked of me. This caught me off guard. I
didn’t realize that about myself. Let’s discuss the validity of the question, shall
we? Sound bites, standardized questions and talking points can veer into the
superficial both intentional and unintentional. Time was often limited. I often
felt I needed more time to think and analyze to deliver just and thoughtful answers
to the many inquiries.
At the same time, I was unwilling to sacrifice my duty to the tasks and responsibilities needed at the office. I caught myself resenting the people and the system that has allowed me a good life. Whether real or perceived I put my head down and grinded. Both at work and through the campaign there was little respite as I became less calculated and endlessly BUSY.
The sacrifices and collateral damage were family time,
reflective time and health care. One day I realized that I had become “skeletor”.
I am gaining back some of the weight now (more medical tests are recommended). Insomnia
and stress. Too many moments I thought I might be dying. My mental health was
trashed. Running on fumes. I had never experienced that kind of disruption.
Elected life is going to be more difficult than I had imagined. I need to be
Achieving escape velocity this December took an additional
surge of energy. I had both guilt and anxiety to step away from work. After 14
years as a public information officer (and recent years as information
responder to COVID/Wildfires) downtime was a rare occurrence. I am perhaps a workaholic.
The business of local government had become my circadian rhythm. I am proud of
that commitment. But I also need better time management to sustain the work ahead.
Professional and development. Kindness. Gratitude. #HWPO
(hard work pays off). See you in the new year Lincoln County.