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Now is the time

Local editorials

The RVTD board may not get another chance to make its case

For Rogue Valley Transportation District board members, this looks like the calm between the storms.

The first, of course, hit with accusations of illegal and unprofessional conduct after the board's June decision not to renew the contract of popular General Manager Sherrin Coleman.

The second is still on its way. Employees' renewed effort to recall the board hasn't yet gained speed. Legislators newly voicing worry about the direction of the district haven't yet acted. A regional transportation group has only begun to talk of pulling funding.

This relative calm is a time of opportunity for the board ' opportunity to come clean with the public and reclaim a positive direction for the district.

It may be the last opportunity this board has.

Last week, three Southern Oregon legislators sent a statement to the board that said state grants could be in jeopardy if its dysfunctional approach isn't reined in soon. Tuesday, the board of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, a Southern Oregon transportation group, debated pulling about &

36;400,000 in annual funding before deciding to leave it for now. Other public officials are looking askance at the mess here as well.

What would it take to turn this around? The public's needs are simple: accountability and professional conduct. A statement from board members pledging that and laying out the basics of the Coleman decision would go a long way toward ending this.

Far worse than its decision to get rid of Coleman was the board's attitude after the act, the deaf ear it turned ' and continues to turn ' to the public's demand for information. Board members are hiding behind legal advice that they stay mum about the Coleman decision. If they want to demonstrate their accountability to the public, we believe they can find a way.

Board Chairwoman Eva Avery says the board wants to get back to the business of the district.

That's what the public wants too, but it can't ignore the elephant in the boardroom. Board members need to come clean and show how they intend to do a better job for the district. Now, before the second storm rolls in, is the time.