Powers should be separate; 'No' on Prop. 2 | Letters
September 12, 2012 · 4:57 PM
You may remember the confusion and chaos which had escalated prior to Home Rule, when the Board of County Commissioners wore all the hats.
Our prior governmental system was established in the 1800s, when the commissioners were elected to simply oversee the roads. Things have changed since then – notably we now have a $45 million county budget, which necessitates professional management.
The Home Rule Charter we adopted in 2005 embraced the sound federal and state principle of separation of powers. The charter created three efficient branches of government — the legislative branch to create the laws (county council); the executive branch to carry out the laws and manage the county (county Administrator); and the judicial branch to interpret the laws (hearing examiner).
Unfortunately, some members of the CRC want to take a giant step backwards. Proposition 2 would annihilate the constitutional principal of separation of powers. The power granted by the citizens to the administrator would be given back to the council. This is a really bad idea.
These are not the old days. Citizens deserve to have one professional individual at the helm who has the education, background and credentials to properly run our county. This individual must be given the power to carry out the laws. It is unfortunate but true that the former BOCC refused to cede power to the administrator, but these things take time.
As Pete Rose said, six years is the blink of an eye in government. Give it time. It is working. It will work even better when new council members are elected this fall.
Please do not give the council the power to micro-manage county department heads. The council must stay out of day-to-day county business. It did not work then and it will not work now. What successful company is run by three presidents?
Separation of powers is a sound principle. Please reject Proposition 2. We must move forward, not backward.
Stephanie Johnson O’Day/Friday Harbor
— Editor’s note: Stephanie Johnson O’Day is a former Freeholder, the ad hoc group which crafted the Home Rule Charter.