I was surprised and disappointed by the tone taken in the editorial concerning Tacoma’s mandated charter review process (TNT, 2-11). In point of fact, the Charter Review Committee has not yet taken formal testimony concerning the status of the city’s six utilities (the three under the independent board and the three within the general government).
Committee member Ken Miller and I met with Utilities Director Bill Gaines and his deputy, Bob Mack, at Gaines’ invitation and with the concurrence of the full committee. The four of us had a thoughtful two-hour conversation over the current and future state of the power, water and rail utilities.
Miller and I appreciated Gaines’ suggested charter change concerning the size and composition of the Utility Board. We, and the other 13 committee members, will give Gaines’ recommendations, and any other regarding TPU, open-minded due deliberation as the process moves forward.
On Feb. 24 and 26, the Charter Review Committee will take testimony from Gaines, staff of his choosing, and current and past Utility Board members. These presentations, and all others, will be in open session and we welcome coverage by The News Tribune.
The committee will also be holding public hearings and will have sessions with stakeholder groups to receive any and all ideas and suggestions before recommendations are made to the City Council.
(Baarsma, a former mayor of Tacoma, is chairman of the Charter Review Committee.)