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Voters to consider changes to Pierce County charter

Post by News Tribune Staff on July 26, 2008 at 6:23 am |
July 26, 2008 6:23 am

The November ballot is getting more crowded. And, no, I’m not talking about Sound Transit’s $17.9 billion tax plan.

Earlier this week, the Pierce County Council voted unanimously to ask voters to consider changes to the county charter that address the process of appointing citizens to boards and commissions.

I know – snooze alert! – but stay with me here. County reporter David Wickert says there’s a reason for this:

The county executive appoints people to numerous county boards, ranging from the Planning Commission to the Chemical Dependency Advisory Board. The County Council must approve the appointments.

In cases where the appointee must come from a specific County Council district, the executive has to choose from among three people recommended by the council member representing that district.

In November, voters will consider proposals to:

    Require the council member to recommend candidates within 30 days of a board vacancy.

    Require the executive to forward appointments to the council within 60 days of a vacancy.

    Allow the council to make appointments for positions that are vacant 90 days or more.

Council Chairman Terry Lee, R-Gig Harbor, said the council is trying to ensure vacancies are filled in a timely manner. He said there have been some cases in which boards failed to reach a quorum because of vacancies.

"That happens a lot more frequently than what people would expect," said Councilman Roger Bush, R-Graham, who sponsored the measure.

County Executive John Ladenburg said the amendments won’t solve all of the problems with board appointments. He said the council sometimes can’t find three people to recommend, which slows the process.

But he said he’s fine with the proposed amendments. In fact, Ladenburg said he wouldn’t mind allowing the council to appoint people to boards and commission directly.

Pierce County
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