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Clallam County Charter Review Commission begins its year-long work

by Lois Krafsky-Perry

Citizen Review
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Port Angeles, WA – Clallam County, WA is one of only 7 counties out of 39 in Washington State that operates on a Home Rule Charter.  Often referred to as a “county constitution”, the Charter offers more local control and guidance for the county, with reviews and input from citizens done every 8 years (changed from every 5 years the last time it met in 2007).
Fifteen citizens from across the county (5 from each district) are elected to review, hold public hearings, and offer possible amendments to the Charter, which are then voted upon by the people in November.
The individual garnering the most number of votes convenes the first meeting within 30 days of certification of the election (Nov. 25th, 2014).  Sue Forde received the most votes overall, so called the initial meeting for Dec. 18th.  The county failed to properly post the event per the Open Meetings Act, however, so it was rescheduled for December 25th.  That meeting was scheduled to review bylaws, rules, and elect the permanent chair, first and second vice chairs and parliamentarian.  Forde offered an alternate agenda for consideration because all members could not be present due to the holidays, which was passed.
The next meeting was held on Jan. 5, 2015 at the Clallam County Courthouse, with a full commission in attendance, and approximately 25 citizens.  The first order of business was the election of the chair.  Two individuals were nominated:  Sue Forde and Norma Turner.  Turner, District 2, received the majority of votes.  The Bylaws call for each of the lst and 2nd vice chairs to be from the remaining two districts.
Chair Turner took over the meeting and called for election of first vice chair.  Two names were offered:  Sue Forde and Ted Miller, both of District 1.  Forde received the strong majority of votes.
The election for 2nd vice chair saw two nominees again; this time, Barbara Christiansen and Connie Beauvais of District 3.  Christiansen received the most votes.  The three elected positions will comprise the executive committee, responsible for setting the order of business for the next meeting.  The chair prepares the Agenda, which is then voted upon by the whole commission at the next meeting.
The meeting’s agenda called for review and approval of  bylaws and rules of procedure, and discussion for videotaping of meetings. The group spent most of the meeting wordsmithing and making minor changes and/or additons to the bylaws and rules.
After complaints by two members of the commission about using Roberts Rules of Order, the commission adopted by a vote of 13-2 that Roberts Rules of Order would continue to be used for meetings, in that it has been successfully used for all past meetings.
Discussion about video taping meetings was entertained and the commissioners decided that for now, the audio tapes would be used and posted for meetings, on the county site.  If individuals videotape meetings and post, for example, on Youtube, that could be done independently.  The question was asked about submitting videos to the commission, with the emails, phone calls, and other means of public comment.  After discussion, it was determined, by Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols that videos could also be admitted.
The next meeting was scheduled for February 2 at the Clallam County Courthouse, Commissioner’s meeting room, starting at 6:30 p.m.  At that meeting the commission will decide on dates for future meetings, as well as the process to be used for gathering information from citizens, county elected officials and some employees.
The 15 elected commissioners are:
District 1 District 2 District 3
Sue Forde Glenn Wiggins Howard “Mike” Doherty
Ken Hays Norma Turner Barbara Christiansen
Ron Bell Maggie Roth Connie Beauvais
Nola Judd Steven Burke Cheryl Williams
Ted Miller Selinda Barkhaus Rod Fleck

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