Celebrating more than 80 years of public service

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Marion County Oregon

June 27, 2019

Marion County celebrates more than 80 years of public service

This week, Marion County will say farewell to Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer and Sheriff Jason Myers as they both retire from county service. Combined, they have dedicated more than 80 years of public service. We sincerely thank them both their service to our communities. 

CAO John Lattimer and Sheriff Jason Myers

Sheriff Jason Myers and Chief Administrative Officer John Lattimer at the 2010 Striking Out Meth Event.

John Lattimer dedicates 51 years to public service

John Lattimer

By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

John Lattimer expected his job in government to be short-term. His wife was going back to school and he figured he'd work for the Kansas Legislature while finishing his doctoral dissertation.

"So I went to work and never stopped. And I never wrote my dissertation either."

Fifty-one years later, Lattimer is stopping. He is retiring June 30 as Marion County's chief administrative officer, in part at the urging of his wife, Vickie, and family. On June 23, he turned 78.

"It's been the best job of all the jobs I've had, for a variety of reasons," Lattimer said of his more than 15 years at Marion County. "They like to talk about government close to the people. Well, it's that – but it's that you get to see what you're doing actually happening on the ground."

He helped steer the county through the Great Recession – wise planning meant fewer layoffs and service reductions than in many local governments – and the headaches of fixing the Marion County Courthouse after a fire. He kept county services going during the reconstruction of Courthouse Square, dealt with the financial woes of The Oregon Garden and strived to improve the county infrastructure so its buildings would last for years.

Along the way, he has tried to educate residents about county government.

"Counties run health care in the state. People don't know that. Counties run jails. We've got the fourth-largest jail in the state, right here in Marion County. We do elections. We do all the (property and tax) assessment for all the local governments in the county, and we send out all the funds to all those public entities. We fix bridges. We fix roads," Lattimer said.

"I've learned so much."


Sheriff Myers devotes 30 years to Marion County

Sheriff Jason Myers

By Dick Hughes, special to Marion County

Jason Myers gravitated toward the county side of law enforcement because he enjoyed working alone. He ends his career at the Marion County Sheriff's Office as the person in charge – and with a reputation for collaborating with other county departments, law enforcement agencies and elected officials.

"It's been an amazing job," Myers said of being sheriff. "What I really appreciate is that I have a team of really dedicated people who see the vision of where we're going. They see that we're here to serve the community and to make it a better place, and that really motivates you."

He is retiring June 30, and looks forward to having more time with his family, who has been so supportive of his career. The county Board of Commissioners has appointed Commander Joe Kast to succeed Myers.

"I think the sheriff's office is in a great place right now. We have outstanding individuals working here," Myers said. "We have a strong leadership team that's prepared to take over."

Myers started as a Salem police cadet, studied law enforcement at Chemeketa Community College and in 1989 got a summer job as a Marion County sheriff's cadet. He was hooked.

Myers has served at every rank in the MCSO: patrol deputy, field training deputy, judicial security deputy, school resource officer, detective, patrol sergeant, narcotics detective sergeant, administrative lieutenant, operations division commander, undersheriff and, since 2009, sheriff.

He has seen – and led – considerable change throughout his MCSO career.