By Frank Lockwood

Staff writer

IRRIGON — After battling recent complaints, criticisms, and problems, CSEPP Governing Board Chairman Dennis Doherty has stepped down from his leadership role in procuring the essential 450 megahertz radio system, leaving the system's future uncertain.

Doherty had left Wednesday's meeting midway through, but,Vice Chairwoman Linda Fox read into the minutes a letter that amounted to a resignation from the position as the administrator of the Intergovernmental Agreement for the 450 MHz system. The system would keep fire fighters, police, rescue workers depot officials and government leaders in touch in the event of a chemical accident involving deadly chemical weapons at Umatilla Chemical Depot. Several members pleaded for a change of heart after Fox read Doherty's letter, others made comments of concern.

Doherty, chairman since the board's inception in August 2000, left a letter to be read into the minutes and a procurement program for a 450 megahertz radio system with no one any longer in charge. Furthermore, the transcriptionist announced to those present that Doherty would not be available for questions or comments for the rest of the week.

CAC Chair Objects to Secrecy

Doherty later agreed to participate in a conference call with CSEPP leadership, however, but refused to discuss the problems in public. Now Doherty wants CSEPP problems identified in private meetings, not in public, he said in Thursday's late afternoon conference call. Over the objections of Citizens Advisory Commission Chairperson Bob Flournoy, the other members agreed they would form a committee to identify problems in secret. Those issues they idendtified would later be brought to the public meeting.

(For the full story, please see the April 18, 2003, issue of the Hermiston Herald.)

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