Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Pierce County exec to elected officials: Happy holidays, let’s talk

Post by David Wickert on Dec. 18, 2009 at 8:54 am with 16 Comments »
January 5, 2010 5:39 pm
Pat McCarthy
Pat McCarthy

As I reported earlier this week, it’s been a year of conflict in Pierce County government. But County Executive Pat McCarthy is reaching out to other elected officials.

In an e-mail Thursday, McCarthy thanked elected officials for their hard work this year under difficult circumstances. And she proposed a new effort to improve communication among branches of government that sometimes have been at odds.

Perhaps most significantly, she proposed expanding her weekly one-on-one meetings with County Council Chairman Roger Bush, R-Graham, to include two other council members and two members of her own staff.

“One of the keys to successfully addressing these ongoing challenges will be improved communications among all branches of Pierce County government,” McCarthy wrote. “It is imperative that we all take responsibility for communicating with each other.”

The executive and council members have accused each other of poor communication in public meetings and recent interviews.

McCarthy also proposes monthly meetings with the prosecuting attorney, sheriff, Superior Court presiding judge, auditor and assessor-treasurer.

You can read the e-mail below.

From: Pat McCarthy
To: COUCOUNCIL; Mark Lindquist; Paul Pastor; Julie Anderson; Dale Washam; Kitty-Ann van Doorninck; Ronald Culpepper; Thomas Felnagle; Bryan Chushcoff; Maggie Ross
Sent: Thu Dec 17 17:13:27 2009
Subject: Happy Holidays

As 2009 draws to a close, I want to wish you and your families a wonderful Holiday Season and a successful 2010.

I want to extend to each of you my thanks for all of the hard work you did during the toughest circumstances in decades. Our year began with major flooding, followed by two supplemental budgets, and it ended with the tragic loss of the four Lakewood police officers.

The challenges we faced were significant, but collectively we rose up to meet them head-on.

The coming year looks to have many of the same challenges. Certainly, we will continue to feel the impact of the financial crisis. Every branch, every department – every staff member, really – will need to continue to closely monitor all expenditures to help prevent the need for additional supplemental budgets in 2010.

One of the keys to successfully addressing these ongoing challenges will be improved communications among all branches of Pierce County government. It is imperative that we all take responsibility for communicating with each other.

This does not mean we have to agree on everything. There will always be policy differences, which can be a healthy ingredient to good decision-making.

For my office, I am proposing several steps to enhance our communication efforts.

For example, I will be proposing to the Council chairman that we expand our weekly one-on-one meetings to a three-on-three format — three Council members and two members from my Executive team. In addition, I will propose that I meet monthly with elected officials from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, the Superior Court Presiding Judge, the Auditor and the Assessor-Treasurer.

With equitable commitments from each of you, we can foster effective and productive working relationships among the branches and offices, and thus demonstrate our commitment to serving the citizens of Pierce County.

With warm regards,


Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. BecauseICARE says:

    Have you bothered talking to the council about any of this? Perhaps you’d get along better if you talked to them instead of informing via press releases….

  2. jiminycricket says:

    Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy is obviously taking the high road in being the first to extend an olive branch. That’s leadership! Hopefully Roger Bush will follow suit and show some leadership skills of his own. Our Executive has put forth a well thought out plan to improve communication between the different branches of County government that’s inclusive and transparent. There’s no time like the present! There are serious issues facing our County. Now is the time to move forward and meet these issues head-on!

  3. ClownPosse says:

    McCarty, your an embarrassment, go home !

  4. jiminycricket says:

    County Executive Pat McCarthy is a consensus builder! Now if we can only get County Council Chairman Roger Bush to step up to the plate and follow suit, then the Executive and the Council can begin to address the serious issues facing the citizens of Pierce County!

  5. bigbarb43 says:

    It would seem that any action that reduces the council’s power over the way the county is run, brings on conflict between various branches. Maybe, just maybe other people have good ideas and the council isn’t always right. Letting go of power is a hard thing to accept.

  6. ldozy1234 says:

    Would and could say the same for any action perceived to reduce the Exec teams power over the way the county is run………….
    IMO both side need to quit using press releases to talk to each other, start working together and stop the games. Maybe all these meetings ought to have minutes and discussions posted on the County website. The voters can actually begin to see who the gamers are by their own words and action.
    Both sides are so far away from any ” sunshine” govt. especially in their departmental interactions – if our elected Council, elected Exec (and the friend s hire friends back up dream team) feel each branch is shafting the other, imagine how well both groups may be shafting the voters during this mess.

  7. BecauseICARE says:

    Pat is hardly ‘extending an olive branch’ here. In my opinion, Roger Bush has already stepped up. He’s invited her to study sessions, etc. No reason for Pat to basically form another committee. Now if Pat wants to go down this road, I hope she realizes that with 3 CC members+ her staff, it’s required to be open to the public. She’s not the queen of Pierce County, she’s an equal branch to the council. She doesn’t get to dictate to anyone in the form a ‘happy holidays, by the way here’s my latest press release’ letter. She is an incompetent hack who still is hiding behind her mini- exec staff to try to do her job. 2012 can’t get here soon enough!

  8. jiminycricket says:

    Roger Bush is a pathetic, self-serving politician and he and his buddies on the Council have stonewalled Pat at every turn. He is the one that needs to go and today wouldn’t be soon enough as far as I am concerned. He has a lot of hard feelings because his boy Shawn lost to Pat in the election for County Executive. Well, well, the voters have spoken and they need to get over it and quit grandstanding. These guys need to check their inflated egos at the door and get down to work, or else they may find themselves out of work, sooner than later. I appreciate the fact that Pat is keeping the citizens informed through her press releases. This is called open and transparent government and this is what we expect of our elected officials. We also expect them to act with civility and decorum, two important traits that Roger Bush and many others on this Council lack!

  9. ldozy1234 says:

    Both side fail the civility and decorum.
    The RCV elected Exec. by a multitude of acts , her costly dream team additions and their salary burden of this county, etc.
    The Council also fails. Watch meetings… the texting on cell phones, whispered comments, facial expression, groans, moans, derisive laughter and at times snide jabs they take at those citizens who speak out against a council decision… way too unprofessional and pretty embarrassing as elected officials.
    Bottom line is both sides need to immediately repair the damaged professional images and personal petty games their playing and work together to run this county. Yes, ‘good ol’boy” Johnny L. is gone, the new Exec is stumbling despite additional prop staff and the Council lost their bids for extended limits. But if you all can’t keep it together and get it together to show some major improvement then go away. If we have to pay for special elections to suit you alls goals , ya betcha we’d happily pay to replace a bunch of problem children here.

  10. sloremodeler says:

    BecauseUCare: Three members of the Pierce County Council do not make a quorum. Thus it would not be a public meeting. I hope that having actual facts is ok with you since being factual is not your normal m.o.

  11. jiminycricket says:

    ldozy1234-I partially agree with you, but you’re incorrect when you say that the “salary is burdensome” for Pat’s “dream team” addition. The salaries that pay these individuals were accomplished by moving some money around in the budget and approved by a majority of the Council. Day in and day out Pat has continually reached out to this Council, but to no avail. Open, honest communication is a two way street! It takes two to dance!

    Storemodeler-Insightful comment and right on! Facts are facts and you’re absolutely correct with regard to what makes a quorum. BecauseUCare obviously doesn’t care about the facts. He/she is only on here to mistate the facts and engage in a war of words with absolutely nothing to back it up. Reminds me of our do nothing Council. They’d rather engage in a war of words than to actually sit down with the Executive and try to accomplish something for the good of those who elected them, the good citizens of Pierce County!

  12. ldozy1234 says:

    No matter where the money was “found”- in this economy and with the budget deficits, those same salaries could have kept deputies from being laid off.
    The money was either misrepresented budgets prior to this or a happy slush fund for convenience issues like the dream team. No other Exec has had to have so many support staff yet still has such significant problems keeping abreast of County issues.
    Its the exact same gripe I have with the Council “finding” money from the equipment funds, etc. to continue to prop up Chambers Golf another few hundred thousand when sites like Sprinker endanger with falling roofs
    . Both sides have shown appalling fiscal decisions in these areas and their petty party isn’t helping .

  13. jiminycricket says:

    Idozy1234-I respect you and the comments that you’ve made. You’ve obviously paid attention to what’s going on. However, I disagree with respect to whether or not the administration has kept abreast of the issues. Both the Council and the Executive are aware of the issues. The problem comes down to communication, and give and take. Take for instance, the elimination of the of the judicial position in Pierce County Superior Court. The Council did not communicate with the Executive Branch, and worse yet, they decided to make this move without hearing from the citizens of Pierce County. Now, this is going to court, where this decision will ultimately be overturned. And why? The Council operated outside their scope of authority. They have completely usurped the authority of the legislature in doing so, and have ignored input from the prosecutors office, law enforcement and citizens. Look at the cost in terms of time, money and resources. This could’ve been avoided, but some egos on the Council got in the way. We, the citizens, pay for this lack of communication in the end!

  14. David Wickert says:

    Folks, some people have criticized the exec for issuing a press release on on this communication proposal before speaking with the council and other elected officials. For the record, this isn’t a press release. It’s an e-mail she sent to elected officials. I didn’t receive it from anyone in McCarthy’s camp. I got it from one of the elected officials who received it. Then I posted it here.

  15. jiminycricket says:

    David Wickert-Thanks for clearing this up! BecauseICare-Open mouth and insert foot!

  16. sloremodeler says:

    Jiminycricket – Are you having problems with your computer like I am? For some reason I haven’t been able to read “Because I Dont like Facts” retraction after the reporter stated the facts. I am concerned that his post has been lost in the cyber space :)

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0