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Dow Constantine is new chairman of King County Council

Post by News Tribune Staff on Jan. 13, 2009 at 8:06 am |
January 13, 2009 8:06 am

I’m just catching up with my e-mail inbox.


Dow Constantine, who is from West Seattle, used to be a state senator. Our paths crossed mostly when it came to ferry service, since his legislative district includes Vashon Island.


Constantine had a hand in creating a ferry district in King County so the county could take over state foot ferry service between Vashon and downtown Seattle.


Dow Constantine to chair King County Council in 2009

New vice-chairs, committees, and committee chairs also named


Members of the Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously elected Dow Constantine as Council Chair for 2009, named Bob Ferguson and Jane Hague as Vice-Chairs, and approved a reorganization of their standing committees that shares leadership on a non-partisan basis and shifts their weekly Committee of the Whole meetings from Mondays to Wednesdays.



"I will take the gavel at a time when King County—like all Washington counties—faces enormous challenges in funding the quality services that our residents expect," said Constantine. "As Council chair during this critical time I will advance efficiency, accountability and effectiveness in government to help ensure we continue to deliver those services. I look forward to joining my Council colleagues in taking a fresh look both at the structure of County government and the operation of the Council as an institution."


Members named Bob Ferguson as Council Vice-Chair for Policy and Chair of Committee of the Whole, and Jane Hague as Council Vice-Chair for Administration and Finance and Chair of the Employment and Administration Committee. The Chair and Vice-Chairs, working together as the Council’s management team, set the agendas for meetings of the Council and Committee of the Whole and coordinate the referral and scheduling of legislation.


"Citizens are looking to their elected officials for effective leadership during these uncertain times," said Ferguson. "As chair of the Committee of the Whole, I will address issues that transcend district boundaries and impact residents throughout King County."


"We will face unprecedented challenges in 2009," said Hague. "I’m honored to be asked by my colleagues to be part of the leadership team responsible for tackling the issues that will impact all residents of King County."


For operational efficiency, members also moved the weekly Council meeting to Mondays at 11:00 a.m., their weekly Committee of the Whole meetings from Monday to Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m., and established new standing committees that will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays:


Government Accountability and Oversight — Reagan Dunn, Chair

1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.


Responsible for policy recommendations relating to strategic planning, performance management and measurement, technology, the Assessor’s Office, elections and licensing, Boeing Field and the King County Fair.


Budget and Fiscal Management Committee — Larry Gossett, Chair

1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.


Develops the Council’s policy direction for the 2010 budget, and makes recommendations on the County’s structural funding gap and capital and operating budget appropriations.


Physical Environment — Jane Hague, Chair

2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.


Responsible for oversight of transportation (including public transit and county roads), salmon recovery, and water quality and control. Makes recommendations on policies relating to growth management (including land use development and regulation), comprehensive planning, annexations, affordable housing, and the unincorporated and rural areas.


Law, Justice, Health and Human Services — Kathy Lambert, Primary Chair; Julia Patterson, Secondary Chair

2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.


Considers and make recommendations on policies relating to public safety, criminal justice and emergency management. Makes policy recommendations relating to public health, human services and housing programs, including the implementation of the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Action Plan and the Veterans and Human Services Levy.


Committee of the Whole – Bob Ferguson, Chair

Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.


Considers legislation and policy issues of interest to the entire Council, and is the only standing committee on which all nine members serve.


Members today also appointed chairs for the three regional committees established under the King County Charter that provide a forum for development and review of countywide plans and policies. These committees include elected officials from other local jurisdictions.


Regional Water Quality Committee – Larry Phillips, Chair

1st Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.


Regional Policy Committee – Pete von Reichbauer, Chair

2nd Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.



Regional Transit Committee – Dow Constantine, Chair

3rd Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m.


The fifth Tuesday of each month is reserved for special committee meetings as needed.


Dow Constantine is a former member of the state House of Representatives and Senate who was first appointed to the County Council in January, 2002, and won election to his District 8 seat in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007. He has chaired many of the Council’s major committees including Committee of the Whole (2008), Transportation (2008), Capital Budget (2007), the 2007 Annual Budget (2006), Operating Budget (2006), Growth Management and Natural Resources (2004-2005), and Labor, Operations & Technology (2002-2003). Constantine earned his bachelor’s, master’s and law degree from the University of Washington and has been licensed to practice law in Washington state for the past 18 years.


Bob Ferguson was elected to the County Council representing District 2 in 2003. Following the reduction of the 13-member Council to nine, Ferguson won his current seat representing District 1 in 2005 with 74 percent of the vote. He has been chair of the Council’s Operating Budget, Fiscal Management, and Select Issues Committee, and has served on the Council’s Budget Leadership Team for the past three years. Ferguson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and his law degree from New York University. He is also a licensed Washington attorney.


Jane Hague joined the County Council in 1994, and was elected Council Chair two years into her first term. She has held most major Council leadership positions including serving more than seven years on the Budget Leadership Team, which dealt last fall with an unprecedented fiscal challenge. Hague’s leadership extended to the National Association of Counties where she served as president and is still a member. In 2008, Hague chaired the Council’s Utilities and Parks Committee and was Vice Chair of the Growth Management and Natural Resources Committee. She played a key role in the adoption of the 2008 update to the King County Comprehensive Plan.


Constantine praised the work of his predecessor as chair, Councilmember Julia Patterson. "I have enjoyed working collaboratively with Councilmember Patterson and will continue her practice as chair of including all Councilmembers in our deliberative processes."


Read more about this legislation on the King County Council’s LEGISEARCH system at http://mkcclegisearch.metrokc.gov/legistarweb and type in "2008-0662" "2008-0038" and "2009-0039"

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King County
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