Opinion

Insider's view: Council Clerk's Corner, 'C3' | Guest Column

County Council Clerk Ingrid Gabriel - Contributed photo
County Council Clerk Ingrid Gabriel
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Ingrid Gabriel, Clerk to the Council

Here in the San Juan County Council office, we have long recognized that you, the public, may not be as informed on the day-to-day activities of your elected legislative government as we would like.

The media may follow the larger news stories and bloggers may comment on topics of individual interest, but much of what happens here at “Council Central” may not be obviously accessible.

The Council hopes to improve the flow of information by posting a regular update, which will include the highlights of recent meetings, advisory committee reports and items of general interest.

Ideally, I will be able to post a C3 at least twice a month. This is a work-in-progress and I welcome your feedback and suggestions for content (ingridg@sanjuanco.com).

Forward, then.

The week of June 23 started off with a council and departmenthead (both elected and appointed) workshop on Tuesday, June 25. The all-day meeting and working lunch took place at the fairgrounds and was a chance for Interim County Manager Bob Jean to introduce the council and department directors to the new County Manager, Mike Thomas. Bob also wanted to pass along the 2013 Master Work Plan and update Mike on the status of each item, including such goals as follow-up on the Community Conversations and the Six-Year Capital Improvement Plan.

Additionally, the department heads identified their individual major goals, priorities and work plans. Auditor Milene Henley suggested a format for the 2014 budget, departmental office hours were reviewed, and Bob led a discussion about the ground rules for council and departmental interaction.

On Thursday, June 27 the council had a brief meeting in the hearing room to discuss the solid waste transition and then adjourned for a county employee picnic on the court house lawn. Local AFSCME 1849 provided the grill foods and drinks, while managers contributed the pot-luck items.  Naturally, it rained.

The picnic was an opportunity for the council to thank Bob Jean for his extraordinary service as county administrator pro tempore and interim county manager. What was supposed to be a brief posting when he was contracted in May of 2012, became a job that lasted over a year.

The council also welcomed Mike Thomas and the picnic gave him chance to meet many of the employees who work outside of the county building “complex.”With a three-member full-time council, the pace and responsibilities for individual council members have shifted into a higher gear.

The council recognized the need for more time to meet with county manager. The typical Tuesday meeting is too busy to attend to administrative matters and transact routine business. The council’s Rules of Procedure already allow for a regular meting on Mondays (either on a regular schedule or on an “as needed” basis).*

Therefore, the council had its first Monday administrative meeting on July 1 with the county manager, the clerk (me) and two members of the public.  At the hour-long meeting, District 2 Councilman Rick Hughes asked if future administrative meetings could be live-streamed from the Legislative Hearing Room.

We agreed to live-stream the meetings going forward.

The council traveled to Lopez Island for the Tuesday, July 2 meeting. At the meeting, members of the Friends of Lopez Island Pool presented an update on the status of constructing a public swimming pool on Lopez Island. The council accepted the conservation easement deeds for the Geiling parcels on Lopez Island for the Land Bank, and voted to reduce the speed limit on the Ben Nevis Loop (Shaw Island) to 25 miles per hour. The Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District Board convened and gave the council an update.

After the meeting adjourned, the council took a tour of Odlin Park with Parks and Fair Director Dona Wuthnow.

On Monday, July 8th the council held its second administrative meeting. The meeting was live-streamed and the video is available for playback at http://sanjuanco.com/council/video.aspx.

In addition to meetings, each council member serves as either the chair or a liaison to many advisory committees and boards, both locally and out-of-the county (state, regional, international, etc.). The schedule is complex and we are working on a way to integrate the calendar so you can play “Where’s Jamie, Bob and Rick?” right along with us.

Our next meetings are on Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16.  Both are in the hearing room and will be live streamed.  I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

(*Notices or agendas or agendas are not legally required for a regularly scheduled meeting, however the Prosecuting Attorney suggested that I send them out to inform the public and maintain transparency. The public is welcome to attend the Monday meetings.)

 

 

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