Letter contains harsh words about the behavior of fellow Councilors Temple Lentz and Julie Olson
Eileen Quiring O’Brien made her resignation from the Clark County Council official Thursday in a letter to County Manager Kathleen Otto.
Quiring O’Brien resigned her position as County Chair on Feb. 2 and also announced plans to resign her position as councilor effective March 1. Her letter to Otto, dated Feb. 24, confirms her plans.
“This letter comes to officially inform you that I will be resigning from my position as Clark County Councilor,’’ wrote Quiring O’Brien, who was first elected to the council in 2016 and then was elected county chair in 2018. “I have been honored to serve the people who elected me to represent them as Chair for the Clark County Council. I have been proud to work with the majority of the Council and I have especially enjoyed working with you, our County Manager.
“This resignation has been in the planning for several months,’’ Quiring O’Brien said. “In fact, I knew in June of 2020, that I would not be running for re-election in 2022 as my husband and I planned to move out of state when I completed my term of office.
“Several personal extenuating circumstances have led to my decision to leave sooner than planned,’’ she added.
During her tenure on the council and as county chair, Quiring O’Brien has been a consistent conservative voice. Recently, she was the only member of the council to support a mini initiative petition that would have banned most COVID-related mandates in Clark County.
Quiring O’Brien stated in her letter Thursday that Gov. Jay Inslee’s use of emergency orders during the pandemic has, in part, led to her decision to leave the council sooner than she had planned. She plans to move to North Carolina with her husband in the near future.
“Like thousands of citizens of Clark County, I have found and cannot go without mentioning the deleterious, overreaching actions of the Governor with his proclamations that have crippled and destroyed many businesses as well as others who have lost their jobs and ability to provide for their families through the never-ending mandates,’’ Quiring O’Brien wrote. “These mandates have created an atmosphere of discrimination against those who cannot wear a mask for health reasons, those who cannot take the COVID shot for health and religious reasons, and those who will not take the shot because they already have the greatest inoculation against the virus – natural immunity! Unfortunately, many are moving out of this state because of these issues.
“Because of the ongoing divide and politically correct response of those in authority, many here and around the nation have lost confidence and faith in the advice of our public health officials,’’ she added.
Quiring O’Brien also took the opportunity to express frustrations over the behavior of Councilors Temple Lentz and Julie Olson.
“I have served in both the House and Senate in the Oregon State Legislature, therefore I come with some experience in the legislative process and decorum within committees and on the floor of both the House and Senate. I greatly enjoyed that experience and the civility among the members from both sides of the aisle,’’ she wrote. “With that said, the last several years of serving as Chair of the Council were made difficult by the uncollegial behavior of two of the Council members (Lentz and Olson) who apparently saw their positions as antagonists, and me as their enemy. This is not how a legislative body should work.
“Differing views on policy issues should be discussed openly and civilly, not with hostility and disrespect,’’ Quiring O’Brien wrote. “Certainly, council members should not go to social media and openly bash their colleagues who disagree with their views. This greatly diminishes the ability to make good policy, recruit quality people to serve, and the joy of serving the public.’’
Quiring closed her letter by thanking her supporters.
“I want to thank the many supporters who have encouraged and thanked me for my service,’’ she wrote. “Again, it has been my honor and pleasure to serve them and the great people of Clark County Washington.
“The last day of my service will be on March 1, 2022,’’ she stated.
Karen Dill Bowerman was elected by the members of the County Council to serve as county chair for the rest of Quiring O’Brien’s term.
The application processed to replace Quiring O’Brien has now passed. As chair of the non-partisan council, Bowerman will nominate three applicants to be interviewed by the county council. The council then will select one of the nominees to fill the open seat. That vote will not take place before March 2.