Two challengers are looking to oust George Murdock from another term as Umatilla County commissioner.
Tom Bailor and Rick Pullen filed Monday for Position 1 on the board of commissioners. Murdock, Bailor and Pullen all live in Pendleton.
Bailor ran for commissioner in 2013 and again in 2016. He said he’s giving it another go because he believes the county needs new leadership.
“It’s time for diversity,” Bailor said. “We need leadership that not only respects traditional values but also understands and embraces the dynamic digital age and economy in which we now live.”
Murdock and fellow commissioners Larry Givens and Bill Elfering are in their mid-70s. Bailor contended they represent only one generation.
“As someone in my 50s, I think it is important to have leadership with diverse generational experience and connection,” Bailor stated.
He also said county commissioners approving themselves pay raises of $8,000 did not sit well with him. That move in 2015 increased the salary for the post to $86,273 a year. Commissioners now have an annual salary of $90,852. Bailor stated Murdock took raises while arguing against wage increases for working people.
Bailor also said Murdock expressing partisan opinions in local news violates the non-partisan spirit of the county charter. County commissioners should be trying to build solutions to local problems on common ground, he said, rather than fuel partisan politics within the community.
Rick Pullen worked for Umatilla County from 2004 until he quit on Dec. 15, 2017, when he was in the assessor’s office. Pullen is a singer and portrayed Daddy Warbucks in the recent College Community Theatre production of the musical “Annie.” Pullen did not return calls Tuesday.
Commissioners serve four-year terms. The last day to file for the May 15 primary election was Tuesday.