What is a Council of Government?
Under the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 294.900), a Council of Government is defined as:
…An entity organized by units of local government under an intergovernmental agreement under ORS 190.003 to 190.130, which does not act under the direction and control of any single member government and does provide services directly to individuals. [1987 c.666 §1]
The Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG) was originally organized and approved as a legal entity in June 1979, by the resolutions of Wasco, Hood River and Sherman counties. In July 1992, the counties of Gilliam and Wheeler joined and made the business area of MCCOG what we know today.
The purpose of MCCOG is to respond to the request from federal and state governments, for local government, to assume a greater responsibility in local decision making, and to address the need for local governments to cooperate and work together for greater efficiencies. Instead of many small local agencies creating burdens of administrative costs and duplicate efforts, this agency consolidated five counties and streamlined the costs of running the programs operating under one entity – MCCOG.
There are currently six programs that MCCOG oversees:
1) Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
2) Integrated Family Services (IFS)
3) Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
4) Transportation Network – providing a public transportation system and operating a medical brokerage that supports 14 counties.
5) Mid-Columbia Building Codes Services (MCBCS)
6) Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT) – a non-profit organization that provides technology education, resources, and recycling to schools across Oregon.
WIOA and IFS operate various educational and training programs, i.e., youth programs, family services working with welfare recipients, job training and dislocated worker programs assisting individuals that have been affected by plant closures/layoffs, just to name a few. AAA provides services to the senior population, i.e., information and referral, meal programs sponsored by the agency or working with other organizations, and outreach services. Our Transportation Network program provides local transportation with The LINK, and operates a Medicaid Medical Brokerage which support medical rides for 14 counties in the surrounding area. The MCBCS oversees building permits and inspections for a four county area – Wasco, Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler, and inspections only of electrical and plumbing in Hood River County.
The administrative/fiscal staff handles the business of all of the MCCOG operations, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, financial reporting and compliance, legal compliance, personnel, electronic data processing systems, public relations and Board of Directors functions. We are now offering those services to cities, other governmental units (ORS 190), special districts, and non-profits. The administrative/fiscal unit oversees the programs in operation and reports to the Board of Directors, which is made up of elected county and city officials from each of the five MCCOG counties.