Saturday, February 11, 2006

Outcome of Issues Brainstorming during February 9 meeting

At the February 9, 2006 meeting of the Pierce County Charter Review Commission, the Commission spent part of the meeting brainstorming which issues we should review given the public comment which we have received. Below is the list of issues to be considered. The list with 29 items is long and the only consensus thus far is that the Commission will not put 29 amendments before the voters. The next few weeks will be spent doing research on these issues, debating the issues, writing proposed amendments and determining which ones to put before the voters. Of course, on this blog, the public is welcome to comment on what it thinks the Commission should do.


#1 Term Limits (remove or extend or modify)
a. Elected + Appointed Boards

#2 Assessor & or Treasurer separated

#3 Appointed or Elected
a. Coroner
b. Planning Director
c. Sheriff

#4 Partisan or Non-Partisan Elected Officials (Or a Mix)

#5 Move Pierce County Elections to Odd Years

#6 Ranked Choice Voting

#7 Resign to Run

#8 Size and Make up of County Council

#9 Executive
a. Line item veto
b. Biannual budget process
c. Balance of power

#10 Open Government Concerns
a. Access to all County records
b. County Council activities/Notices
c. Proposed Council resolutions and ordinances
d. Public webcast of all Council proceedings
e. County records achieved

#11 Referendum and Initiative (%)

#12 Campaign Contribution Limits

#13 Health Department/Planning Department

#14 Compliance Review Office (GAO)

#15 Transparency of County Functions

#16 Veteran’s Policies (9.35)

#17 Coordination of County Wide Emergency Services with State and Federal

#18 Independent Salary Commission Creation

#19 Confirmation Process for Department Heads

#20 Conflict of Interest Enhancement

#21 Enhancement of Freedom of Religion and Sexual Orientation (9.65)

#22 Redistricting

#23 Golf Course/Hospital Boondoggle and How to Avoid in Future

#24 Appointments to Boards and Commissions Process

#25 Taking/Property Eminent Domain

#26 Review Article 10

#27 Should County be Self Insured?

#28 Voter Security/Fraud and Standardization

#29 Budget and Finance Policy Guide Lines


At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Elected v. Appointed Officials

An elected official becomes accountable at the next election. An elected official that makes a “bad” appointment places his career on the line if he fails to correct his mistakes before election day. His winning opponent will likely appoint a replacement the first day he takes office.
The big difference between elected and appointed office holders appears to be that appointed officials can be fired immediately vs. elected officials must wait for election day. Also, consider that an elected official will usually “waste” a portion of his official hours on re-election campaigns.
I have no preference either way, except to hope that any change would be for the better, not ten years of regret.

Rick Sorrels, 884-4650

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Compliance Review Office

Grand Jury/Inspector General

There appears to be an undercurrent belief that some sort of quality control needs to be established to control waste/fraud/malfeasance/excesses within the County government. The term “Grand Jury” has an established meaning which does not fit the situation, because it is an alternative means to bring forth criminal charges from within the system. Something farther outside the existing establishment would be the only effective (unbias) way to accomplish what you apparently desire.
The Military is even more regimented and closed to dissenting opinion than County government. They fixed the problem by creating an Inspector General that functions entirely outside the chain of command. They report only to the highest official, act autonomously, have unlimited investigatory powers, and are available for direct contact from any military member. Commanders become very attentive when they learn that an IG is about to visit their base.
IG may not be the best name, but the concept should be considered. Audits and audit funds established by the recent Initiative action might be incorporated. Ethics commission, too. Reports and suggestions would be made directly to the Chair of the County Council and the Charter Review Commission. It could include an ombudsman system and input from community councils. Appointment can be made by Charter Review Commission, one representative for each District. Salary determination and other details to be included in Charter Amendment.
Looks like a good idea to me. Comments?

Rick Sorrels, 884-4650


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