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Osage County Commissioner wants to make Osage County the best it can be

By

Tara Madden

Darren McKinney (Osage) has been the District three Osage County Commissioner for two years. He is currently serving four more years and when his term is up he plans to run again.

McKinney has 20 years experience working for the county. He began his career with the county at the age of 16, working for a cedar program in the summer and then back the next summer on contract, which paid a little better, he said. Upon graduating High School he started full time with the county. He worked there for 10 years, took a brief break, and has been back with county for another 10 years.

“When it was time for a new Commissioner two years ago I thought why not me? I had worked under Charlie Tallchief, Jess Ballard and Jim Clark and felt I could do the job,” McKinney said.

McKinney likes to get out and talk to the people living in the area. He encourages them to call so he can help them. He is accessible 24 hours a day and always has his phone ready. He said his phone is never off in case someone needs to reach him, even if it’s a complaint.

If someone calls and their road has a pothole, he said he tries to get a crew out as soon as possible to fix it.

He has taken classes at the OSU extension for county government as well as taken classes on open meetings. He said he is still learning stuff daily and always talks to people with respect and has learned to be more responsible for his actions since coming into office.

“I think he is a good commissioner, he works hard at it,” said Osage County Commissioner Bob Jackson of district one.

The responsibilities of a county commissioner reach farther than roads alone. They sit on a board of commissioners that oversee areas of nutrition, emergency management and safety as well as county roads. The board has to approve everything concerning the county.

The Commissioner is an elected position and most people think roadwork is the most important part of a commissioner’s job, he said. Tending to roads are a very small portion of what a commissioner’s job entails. The county gets a set amount of money each month that goes up or down depending on production and county taxes.

The county built the chapels in the Grayhorse and Hominy villages, he said. They are currently working on roads in the Shell Creek area near Sand Springs. Concord and Sand Springs are currently the areas in the county that require the most work. Hominy and Fairfax are currently in pretty good shape, he said.

When bad weather hits in the winter the county is out plowing roads and McKinney is taking calls for people who need help. “If people need help I will help them,” he said.

“He is a great to work with, he is very understanding and really listens to the issues that come up,” said Scott Hilton, Osage County Commissioner District two.

He loves Osage county and its residents. He has lived in Fairfax his entire life and he wants to help make Osage County the best county it can be. He said people should understand that tax dollars for roads and other services provided by the county has to come from sales within the county. That if you go out of the county for purchases, then that county is benefiting from your taxes.

McKinney only buys his gas for his vehicle in Osage County because he wants his tax dollars to stay within the county.

He said that the other thing that could hurt Osage County is the BIA’s plan to shut down production in Osage County because part of their monthly and yearly formula is based on oil production, which could mean pay cuts for many county workers and it will hurt the road repairs.

McKinney’s grandmother is Francis Strikeaxe Rhodes and his grandfather is Sam Rhodes of Fairfax. His mother is from the Hamilton-Strikeaxe family and his father is Darrel McKinney. He has three brothers and one half sister.

He and his wife have two daughters. He said in his free time he likes to golf and play with his two grandchildren. He also has two grandchildren on the way. 


Original Publish Date: 2015-04-08 00:00:00

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Osage News Staffhttps://osagenews.org
As an independent news organization, we strive to report news and information with fairness and balance. While being the official news organization of the Osage Nation, we base our news judgements on our loyalties to our readers and Osage citizens, and we are not directly beholden to the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branches of the Osage Nation.
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