The long and winding Wednesday

Clark County commissioners will now be taking an extra 30 minutes between their work sessions from now on.

I wasn’t there for the discussion (I was in Kelso), but the change is apparently being made because Commissioner David Madore wants to mentally digest information from the sessions before hopping into the next topic.

Okay, fine, but anyone who has attended these sessions probably realizes that isn’t what the extra time will be used for. More likely, it’s going to result in longer meetings.

Typically commissioners have two workshops on Wednesday, one at 10 a.m. and one at 11 a.m., to discuss topics and direct staff in drafting policy. Then, commissioners have a board time meeting at 1:30 p.m. where they talk through policy ideas.

Those are some long days. And I don’t mean this in a negative way, but that is often because of Madore.

It’s actually one of the more amusing points of order in these meetings. Commissioner Tom Mielke has commented that Madore has “taken the air out of the room” on a few occasions.

Madore is a talker, and he knows it. He has just shy of a few hundred ideas he’s working on getting going. It’s great news, honestly. And he’s rather verbose on topics, which is great for quotes. But as for time? Put it this way, that final Wednesday meeting typically goes past 5 p.m.

It also doesn’t help that Madore and Commissioner Steve Stuart are diametrically opposed to one another on several topics. And while he might not comment as much as Madore does, Stuart is no shrinking violet in policy talk or debate.

For the sake of time, one can only hope that Mielke keeps up the discipline of an old timey schoolmarm he showed during the talk over if Madore could hire a personal assistant. After an hour of debate on that topic, Mielke had heard enough. He wanted it over with. Sitting in that unusually warm meeting room, hot sun blasting through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the clock just ticking by, the same points being made over and over again. It’s enough to drive a man mad, I tell you. Mad, as in crazy. But probably also as in angry. Either one, really.

Anyways, Mielke finally grabbed a draft set of rules and verbally forced the other two commissioners to work down the talking points.

The point here is that two of these guys can really talk. And unless they stick to hard and fast rules on workshop time limits, Wednesdays just got a whole lot longer.

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle covers Clark County government for The Columbian. He can be followed on facebook at, on Twitter at @col_clarkgov or contacted by email at

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