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Kanner Fired, Buses Roll 

Bus System Rolling Along

Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) Deputy Director Karen Friend last week presented a one-year update to the Bend City Council on the transfer of Bend Area Transit operations from the City to COIC.

The transfer of grants marks the "second phase" of the shift, which began on Sept. 1, 2010.

Highlights over the last year of operations, according to Friend, include a new Redmond hub, a web page complete with a trip planner, updates to their communication systems as well as such service improvements as cost-neutral route changes - all completed on a reduced budget.

BAT averages 60,000 rides a month and has carried over 17,000 bicycles over the past year, said Friend.

City Councilor Mark Capell offered his long-term support in helping to secure funds for COIC, which operates Cascades East Transit. Mayor Jeff Eager advised the agency to have a grievance policy in place and inquired about litigation issues with the disabled community.

County Commissioners Fire Top Manager, Kanner

Dave Kanner, who for the last five years has served as the County Administrator for Deschutes County, will need to look for a new job.

Citing issues with Kanner's leadership style, county commissioners voted 2-1 on Monday, Aug 22 to fire the county administrator. Commissioners Tammy Baney and Tony DeBone both voted to sack the county's top staff member, while fellow commissioner Alan Unger voted against the termination. The move came after the commissioners reviewed the results of a recent performance review that included input from the county's various department heads.

While Kanner was trusted, well-liked and thought to be highly proficient in all of the technical aspects of the job, Baney and DeBone found fault with his leadership approach - a style that apparently didn't rankle Unger.

Kanner, who spoke briefly with the Source on Tuesday afternoon, declined to discuss the specifics of his firing, however he said that he was taken aback by the abrupt decision.

"The whole thing is quite shocking. I need some time to decompress and figure out the next steps," Kanner said.

The firing comes on the heels of a prolonged and highly publicized dust-up with the Deschutes District Attorney Patrick Flaherty over personnel issues and a difficult round of contract negotiations with the county's collective bargaining unit.

It's not unusual for elected officials to dismiss their top staffers. Bend has been through three managers over the past decade, after councilors dismissed longtime city manager Larry Patterson. However, Deschutes County's top post has been relatively stable. Kanner's predecessor, Mike Maier, served more than 20 years as county administrator.

Unger said that Kanner should have been given time to address the issues raised by the performance review. But Baney and DeBone, neither of whom could be reached for comment, told The Bulletin that they thought that the issue of Kanner's leadership style had reached a tipping point.

Even so, Unger said county issues can often be controversial and managers need some leeway.

"Sometimes we need to say hard things," offered Unger, who added that he appreciated Kanner's direct style.

Deputy County Administrator Erik Kropp, who was hired at Kanner's direction, was unanimously voted in as interim acting administrator and will be able to submit his application to the mix once the board determines a hiring process for the administrator job. Unger said he was unsure what such a timeline would look like.


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