Oregon's Brogoitti Hangs on at NW Power Planning Councilby Bill Rudolph
NW Fishletter, August 23, 2002
Despite being fired over two weeks ago by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, Northwest Power Planning Council member John Brogoitti is still representing his state. "The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated," he told NW Fishletter after attending last week's NWPPC meeting in Helena, MT.
After refusing to resign following his open criticism of Kitzhaber's fish and wildlife policy, Brogoitti received a letter from the governor telling him he was fired. Still, Brogoitti refused to go and requested a public hearing with his boss to air the reasons for his dismissal. Brogoitti said he shouldn't be fired for representing the views of agricultural interests in eastern Oregon. A hearing has been scheduled Aug. 30 in Salem.
Brogoitti said his lawyers tell him he is still a council member until the Oregon Senate confirms a new appointee. He also said "he has been told" that the Republican-controlled Senate would not confirm any Kitzhaber appointee. The lame-duck governor, who leaves office in January, has named eastern Oregon attorney and viticulturist Melinda Eden to the post. Her confirmation hearing is scheduled for Sept. 4.
"This is an amusing side game," said Kitzhaber spokesperson Tom Towslee. "We'll have to wait and see what happens Sept. 4."
Towslee said Brogoitti "continues to serve until someone else is confirmed," a change in the governor's position. Kitzhaber's office had earlier claimed that the recalcitrant rancher had lost his seat in January because he had never been re-confirmed for his second three-year term.
Brogoitti may serve as a council member through the end of the year or longer. He said he hopes to be around to vote on the mainstem amendments to the fish and wildlife program that will likely be considered in October. Brogoitti also said he would support changes to flow augmentation policies recommended to the council last week by Idaho and Montana members, a position not likely shared by Oregon's other council representative, west-sider Eric Bloch.
Brogoitti, a rancher and wheat farmer, has garnered support from his constituents and kudos from Washington residents as well. Vaughn Jolley, board chair of the Methow Valley Irrigation District says Brogoitti was the first Council member who took an interest and volunteered to help in his group's ongoing battle with NMFS over water issues and ESA fish concerns that has culminated in a plan to modernize the district's delivery system.
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