Athough the process has created frustration and dismay among its members, the Umatilla Chemical Depot Local Reuse Authority is starting to move forward with the planned closure of the Depot once chemical operations are complete.

Kristen Orr, project manager for the Office of Economic Adjustment for the Department of Defense, offered suggestions as to how the LRA can go about applying for a grant to pay for the expenses which are sure to come with disposal of the Depot property.

Orr said because the Authority does not have the fiscal capacity to be the grantee - due to auditing of the funds, paperwork involved, among other things - she suggested one government entity should be the fiscal agent so that money can then pass through them. As of the end of the meeting on Thursday, no one had offered to take that job on.

The biggest discussion came from whether or not to hire a contracted executive director and staff person for carrying out the Base Relocation and Closure process or to hire someone to work for whichever government entity chooses to be the fiscal agent.

Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Hansell, chair of the Authority, said he preferred contract employees over hiring what could be county employees.

"It would be better to be a contract so they would be accountable to Morrow and Umatilla counties," Hansell said.

Because of the temporary nature of the positions, Orr suggested the Authority hire contract employees.

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