DIXON – A key official Thursday expressed support for the administrator of a Dixon-based transit agency.
A day before, Jaime Blatti, administrator of the Lee-Ogle Transportation System, backed off from previous statements about “illegal issues” related to grants in 2011 and whether an Oregon senior center owes LOTS money.
One of the major transportation providers for LOTS is the Lee County Council on Aging, which runs the Dixon senior center. Its executive director, Geoff Vanderlin, said Blatti has done a “fantastic job.”
“The agency is in wonderful hands and is moving in the right direction,” said Vanderlin, who is also a member of the LOTS board.
A week ago, the Lee County Board released the minutes from last month’s LOTS meeting. According to those minutes, Blatti referred to “illegal issues” and stated that Oregon’s Rock River Center owed much more money than indicated in an invoice.
In an interview Monday, Blatti said the center owes money, but she had “no idea” how much. She said her agency wouldn’t pursue the debt and that it would take a team of auditors to figure the amount in any case.
In response to public records requests Wednesday, Blatti said in an email that her statement about illegal issues was “incorrect speculation” and that no one owed LOTS money.
She has not returned Sauk Valley Media’s calls since Monday.
After Monday’s phone interview, she sent an email to LOTS board members to be aware that a reporter was “on the prowl” about the meeting minutes.
“Ten steps backwards ...,” she wrote.
Thursday afternoon, Sauk Valley Media attempted to contact board members who attended last month’s meeting. It reached only Vanderlin and Kevin Carr of Kreider Services, who declined to comment.
Vanderlin called the reference to illegal issues an “unfortunate turn of phrase.” And he called the minutes inaccurate.
“Those are unauthorized minutes. They are not approved,” he said. “Someone sitting there didn’t quite hear things right.”
For instance, he said, none of the agencies, including Rock River Center, owes LOTS money.
Board member Stacey Sibley, who drafted the minutes, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The minutes state that information related to Blatti’s statements on Rock River Center had been sent to the center repeatedly. Sauk Valley Media submitted a request for that information. Under state law, LOTS has until Wednesday to provide it, unless it seeks an extension.