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Pierce County Council members spar over cutting two council positions

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on July 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm with 14 Comments »
July 25, 2011 4:53 pm

Pierce County Council members sparred today over a proposal that would reduce the number of council members from seven to five, with council member Rick Talbert calling the move “an abuse of our power.”

Democrats Talbert and Tim Farrell said the next charter review commission in 2015 should decide whether a proposal to cut the size of the council should be forwarded to voters.

Talbert said the change “demands and warrants a lengthy conversation” which the voter-elected charter review commission would provide.

Talbert called the proposal a “radical” change that was suggested on a “whim.”

Council Chairman Roger Bush replied the proposal which he made a week ago that could save more than $500,000 a year wasn’t radical.

“It is not a whim and it certainly is not an abuse,” Bush said.

The council’s rules and operations committee voted 2-1 to move the proposal to a full council vote Aug. 9. If approved by at least five council members, the charter amendment would be put on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Committee members Bush and Dick Muri voted to advance the proposal. Council member Joyce McDonald voted “no.” All three are Republicans.

McDonald said she wants to save $5 million over the next 10 years, but also wants more time to determine whether Pierce County residents will be fully represented with larger districts and two fewer council members.

“This is not an abuse,” McDonald said. Instead, for the County Council to turn over its responsibility to the charter review commission is “an abuse,” she said.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. ToddIverson says:

    If the Council would cut their salaries from $104k to say a respectable and reasonable $60k, they would be well on their way to that half million. Show some leadership Roger and suggest that!

  2. puyallupmutt says:

    Joyce McDonald and her cronie staff are the biggest abuse of expenses incurred by the council. Any measure that would cull her waste of taxpayer money would be beneficial to ethics, transparency and democracy in this county.

  3. Steve, is there any chance Councilmember MacDonald’s quote was out of context? Obviously it’s not abuse to task the charter review commission with reviewing the charter. That’s its purpose.

  4. Tacoma_Bourne says:

    How much has the pay increase for the county council cost us over the last 6 years? Also, remember that the charter ties that increase to the Executive as well.

    Didn’t Dick Muri vote for that pay increase?

  5. Joyce McDonald says having an elected citizens charter commission evaluate and make a decision on the size of the County Council would be “an abuse?” Shame on her. It is our government CM McDonald, not yours. Rushing a major charter amendment onto the ballot is the abuse and McDonald’s arrogance is showing. And as for that lifetime-government-employee Roger Bush: if cutting two positions is all about saving $500,000, why not save a cool million and cut the council from 7 to 3? We got by with three for a long, long time.

  6. can somebody throw a pie at Mr. Bush?

  7. Sam Foreman says:

    Why not go a little further and pull the per diems, county cars, county fuel cards, and county insurance from these people in both the Council and Executive offices. Why are we paying for cars for Washam and Anderson? How much would that save us? And while we are talking about it why does council need to be a full time job? The State legislature isn’t and many cities in Washington aren’t either.

  8. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce – – Government

  9. mattersnot1 says:

    We would save a lot of money if we went back to the Commissioner form of County government. The same goes for City government.

  10. Dear_John says:

    Shame on you, Joyce. Following the rules laid out in our charter is an abuse?
    McDonald needs to go, she is against letting the people decide. You are supposed to work for us, Joyce.

  11. Councilmember McDonald –Transcript:

    “To contend in any way that allowing the citizens of Pierce County a full voice at the ballot being an abuse is, in my opinion, it just turns on the head of foundation of Government Of The People, By The People, and For The People so this is not an abuse, and if councilmembers here just want to do away with the County Council and give it all the Charter Review Commission–that in itself is another abuse, but that’s what it sounds like. It sounds like we want to give all of our responsibility to a commission of citizens and THAT takes away the responsibility that the People have given to this county council, and that being said, I’ve gone back and forth on this issue too; I’m still not settled. If it was based simply on finances I’d be a strong vote today because I want to save 5 million dollars over the next 10 years.

    I want to see the people of Pierce County get a better, leaner, more effective and efficient government. I think we all understand that, but I’m still weighing some of the arguments that have been brought up today about whether or not that’s something that The People want, and so I’m struggling about even send it to the ballot, and so today I’m going to vote no, but I’m still considering it very strongly. I have not settled on a full decision, but some of the reasons that we’re using for arguments here today, I just have a real problem with because I believe that the citizens of Pierce County will be fully represented if they chose to discuss this item and vote on it at the ballot box, and then we’ll know–we’ll know fully.”

  12. For those on facebook, and who want are interested in following along, and/or participating in this issue, please join the Pierce County Charter facebook group which was created to serve as a public, open-to-everyone place to share information relating to the Charter, its amendments, meeting invitations, and to provide a place for people to civilly discuss the related issues.


  13. Why is it that anyone with the surname “Bush” is an idiot??

  14. intheblack says:

    Mr. Foreman you need to do your homework. The first thing Julie Anderson did when she took office was give Jan Shabro’s (the previous Auditor) “company car” back to the county motor vehicle fleet.

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