Senators confirmed to serve on high-paid power council
SALEM — The Oregon Senate has confirmed Sens. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, and Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, as the newest members of the Northwest Power Planning & Conservation Council.
The federally-funded council is charged with leading the development of long-term strategies to balance power generation with wildlife conservation in a region that includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Gov. Kate Brown nominated the two senators for the appointments.
Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, presented the appointments on the Senate floor.
"I still wish an aye vote but it is bittersweet," she said.
"I don't know if there's anything sweet about it," Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, quipped in retort. "I'm unhappy with both of you (for leaving)."
Council members take a salary of $120,000, making them post one of the highest paid political appointments.
Both senators will have to resign their elected positions in the Legislature before their first council meeting Jan. 16.
Their departure leaves a shocking void in the Senate.
A renowned budget writer, Devlin co-headed the powerful Joint Ways and Means Committee, which must approve all spending measures.
Ferrioli, along with Burdick, D-Portland, is the longest serving senator in the Legislature and led the Senate Republicans for several years with eloquent oratory often in opposition to policy proposals by the Democrats, who have a comfortable majority in both chambers.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday, Nov. 15, elected Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, to succeed Ferrioli as Senate Minority Leader.
Ferrioli was elected in 1996 and has held several leadership positions. Devlin joined the Oregon House in 1996 before winning election to the Senate in 2002. He served as majority leader from 2007 and 2010.
Both Senate seats will be filled through appointments by county commissioners in those respective districts.