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

Post by David Wickert on Dec. 18, 2009 at 8:54 am |
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,

Pat

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