Re: “Council puts off decision on later start for meetings” (TNT, 3-26).
The Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington says, “Public hearings . . . assure, at a minimum, the rights of interested citizen to attend and/or testify. . . . Scheduling convenient times and providing comfortable settings encourages participation.”
Public oversight of our representatives’ spending decisions keeps those representatives accountable and helps ensure taxpayers’ money is not wasted on things the public does not want or need. Only seven of 50 Pierce County Council meetings per year are held after 5 p.m., so most citizens are prevented from attending 86 percent of the council’s meetings. The council can and must do better than that.
The county’s general fund budget for 2013 is $274.8 million, of which $3.9 million is budgeted for the County Council. Surely council members can find $13,300 in there somewhere to improve transparency.
Procedures that cloak the decision-making process and obstruct equal access to representation should be changed. Period.
(Dasch was a 2012 candidate for the Pierce County Council seat won by Doug Richardson.)