County covers costs for Smith aide to join conference at McCall resort

Greg Smith, Malheur County economic development director (The Enterprise/FILE)

Malheur County officials decided that they should dispatch a representative to the annual convention of one of the region’s most important agriculture associations.

The meeting of the Idaho-Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association was scheduled for three days last weekend at a resort in McCall, Idaho.

Among those expected to show up were representatives of Americold, the multinational shipping company poised to run the Treasure Valley Reload Center in Nyssa.

In May, Greg Smith, Malheur County economic development director, sought and got permission from the Malheur County Court to send his aide, Ryan Bailey, at county expense to attend.

County records show the costs were to be $328.06 for Bailey’s stay. The price includes mileage and meals.

Smith told Malheur County Judge Dan Joyce and Commissioners Don Hodge and Ron Jacobs that Americold would be talking to convention delegates about the Nyssa project.

He also told directors of the public company managing the reload center he wanted to dispatch Bailey to represent the company.

“I’ve asked Ryan to attend for a couple of days to be of assistance to Americold,” Smith told the directors.

He didn’t explain why a billion-dollar company from Georgia would need the help. He didn’t respond to questions and neither did officials from Americold.

The conference schedule listed for the first day a “get acquainted party” and a “Family Feud” evening event. On the next day, the schedule included an industry breakfast, a golf tournament, a social hour, a dinner speech, and then a blackjack tournament.

The schedule didn’t list a presentation by Americold.

“There will not be a presentation,” according to an email from Candi Fitch, the association executive director. “Americold has been invited to give a brief overview and an introduction at the closed business meeting held during the convention.”

The conference schedule showed that the business meeting was set for Saturday morning.

Smith advised the commissioners, however, that “Ryan cannot be there for Saturday’s events.”

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