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Clark County Charter Review Commission seeks public feedback in series of forums

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:

The Clark County Charter Review Commission will seek public feedback during a series of forums in June.

At the town hall meetings, held virtually on WebEx, commissioners will present information on changes they’re considering in addition to seeking feedback. They will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. June 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 12, and 5 to 7 p.m. June 16.

The commission is conducting the first review of the county’s 22-page home rule charter, which was approved by voters in November 2014. In a meeting earlier this month, commissioners mentioned a desire to narrow the list of potential changes to the county government’s guiding document.

The “big five” topics being considered are making the county council chair an appointed position, requiring that county council positions be nonpartisan, expanding the number of council districts to five, creating an ethics commission, and mandating charter reviews every five years instead of 10 years.

The 15 commissioners have broached numerous potential changes since they began meeting in January.

Several of the meetings have involved adopting the review commission’s bylaws and creating leadership positions. The charter doesn’t specify the process by which the commission should review it.

Commissioners lamented a lack of communication with the public earlier this month, as the summer months and general election deadlines approach.

The commission’s communications subcommittee finalized a formal communications plan during meetings last week.

“This is going to be one of those times when having 15 of us is actually going to be to our benefit,” Commissioner Maureen Winningham said during a subcommittee meeting Thursday.

“Thank goodness for that,” Commissioner Chris Goodwin replied.

Any changes the commission recommends would be forwarded to the Clark County Auditor’s Office for placement on a future general election ballot. Commissioners have set a target of July 7 for submitting any recommended changes; this year’s general election takes place Nov. 2.

Information about how to participate in meetings or the town halls can be found at https://clark.wa.gov/county-manager/meetings-agendas-archives. Additional information about the commission can be found at https://clark.wa.gov/county-manager/charter-review-commission-overview.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter

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