Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Keep televising Civil Service Board meetings

Letter by Anita Latch, Tacoma on March 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm with No Comments »
March 22, 2013 5:15 pm

Tacoma city staff plan to stop broadcasting Tacoma Civil Service Board meetings. My council member tells me that the council will not vote on this decision and that it will take effect immediately.

I find this troubling; the voters of Tacoma are entitled to transparency and accountability.

City staff claimed initially that they would save taxpayers $25,000 annually by discontinuing these broadcasts. When pressed for details, they retreated from that figure and have stated that was combined with broadcasting the City of Destiny Awards (which they also plan to end) and are now citing a $4,500 figure. They called the amount “overtime.”

Many city meetings happen after 5 p.m. because the public needs to watch, attend or testify. City staff merely need to work a flex-time schedule instead of starting their day all at the same time. The camera operator from Click doesn’t need to work overtime to film meetings; he can come in at noon on days when evening recordings are made.

To remove the board meetings from TV Tacoma’s schedule will make the functions of the board much less accessible to the voters.

I understand that our new city manager comes from a community where there is no Public Records Act or Open Meetings Act. I hope that local voters will contact his assistant to say that our Civil Service Board is the very model of how good government deals with its own employees, and we do not want our representatives taking action in secret.

(Latch is a member of the Civil Service Board.)

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