Think Pierce County’s elected officials have been fighting lately? You’re wrong. They’ve been at it all year.
As 2009 draws to a close, I’ve been reviewing a year’s worth of political skirmishes in Pierce County government. The bottom line: at times it’s seemed that everyone is fighting with everyone else.
A rookie executive has feuded with a veteran County Council.
The council and executive have criticized Superior Court judges.
The judges have threatened to sue the executive and council.
The prosecutor has accused the council of overstepping its authority.
The assessor-treasurer has decried the council and executive.
So what’s going on? That’s the question I’m trying to answer in an upcoming article.
There are several answers. First, there are inherent tensions among the various branches of government. The county charter, for example, pits the executive against the council, giving the exec control of departments and contracts and the council authority over the budget and policy decisions.
But there’s more going on here than the push and pull of good government. Tough circumstances – i.e., a year of budget cutting – also have played a role.
So have politics and personalities. How much? Judge for yourself. Below is a recap of this year’s political tug of war.
I think it’s fair to say it’s incomplete. These are just the punches that were thrown in public. At other times, the tensions simmered in private.
Read on and pass along your thoughts.