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County Court appoints Brian Barney commissioner

Extensive experience in a variety of fields made the applicant stand out above the rest

Brian Barney is the new Crook County Commissioner.

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford and Commissioner Jerry Brummer spent most of their workday Friday deciding who would join them on the County Court. At about 4 p.m., after conducting interviews since 9 a.m., they chose Barney to work with them as they guide county government for the next two years. He took the oath of office Monday morning.

"He has historic knowledge of Crook County," Crawford said. "His family has lived here a long time. He is a rancher, he is a developer and he has worked construction. He has just had a wide variety of experiences that I think will be great additions to our current county court."

In addition, Barney serves as chair of the Ochoco Irrigation District Board and the Pioneer Memorial Hospital Board, and has worked as a local sheriff's office deputy.

The need to appoint a commissioner arose when Crawford won the election for judge midway through his four-year commissioner term. His change in position left an opening that needed filled for the remaining two years of that term.

People began showing interest in the position just after Crawford was elected judge. Many of those people had run for the commissioner against Brummer in the May primary, such as Jodie Fleck, Pete Sharp and Melanie Marlow. Other eventual applicant had either held the commissioner office in the past, like Mike Mohan, or ran for a county court office in a past election. Kim Kambak, who applied for the vacancy, ran for county judge in 2008 and Walt Wagner, another applicant, sought a commissioner position in 2008, and ran for judge in 2012.

The list of 10 applicants was rounded out by Lance Stover, Doug Dawson, and Greg Heinz, who recently launched a gift-certificate program with law enforcement to reward kids for good behavior.

Shortly after taking office in early January, Crawford and Brummer announced they would be accepting applicants for the position as well as letters promoting individuals for the spot. Neither candidate revealed much about who they might choose, only stating they hoped to pick someone who would best help them serve the county.

Crawford admits that singling out Barney for the job did not come easily for him and Brummer.

"It was a very good decision, but it was a very difficult decision," he said, because there are so many really qualified applicants all across the different sectors of Crook County."