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.