Nah ... I was working on special assignment. I didn't intend for it to last as long as it did, but ... life happens ... apologies.
We have a new Council, but many of the same old questions. For instance, when will our Council catch on that they are regularly played by staff? The Council was manipulated by staff over solid waste. They were played by staff (and consultants) about the CAOs ... about the Community Conversations ... and over Pictometry. Will we ever have a Council that isn't three moves behind staff? As the old saying goes, if you're in a poker game and you don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy. It's been a long time since we had a Council that knew who the patsy was.
We may have our first glimpse into the perspicacity of the latest Council when they select a new County Manager ... possibly as early as today. So far, things don't look so good. We have candidates that were pre-selected by Prothman. Prothman was involved in the hiring of Pete Rose and Bob Jean. Prothman always gets the call when we're looking for a County big-wig. In my opinion, any search process that begins with Prothman has very little chance of turning out well for the citizens of this county.
Be that as it may, here is my short rating of each of the candidates, based on what little I've learned of them:
- Sinclair - she has a rural experience and a strong financial background. She seems as if she might be a particularly good fit.
- Pence - he has rural and tribal experience. He seems like a potentially good fit.
- Pascale - as much as I like Italian guys from New Jersey (and I really do like Italian guys from NJ), this does not seem like a promising fit. He's been in one place for a very long time, and I think the adjustment to this community would be too much of a stretch.
- Thomas - oh god no! We do not need a planner from King County.
- Wilbrecht - how did this guy even get on the list?
Staff (many of them, but not all) are still out of control, and we need a Manager who will help get this place shaped up. For a perfect example of what it means for staff to be out of control, just read anything written by Shireene Hale ... like her recent email to the Planning Commission.
From: Shireene Hale <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, May 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Subject: Conduct of planning commission meetings
To: barbara thomas, Brian Ehrmantraut
Cc: Rene Beliveau <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Barbara and Brian,Is there a time next week the three of us can talk about the conduct of planning commission meetings and how to keep them civil and focused on the issues, and not on individuals? Barbara – yesterday I think you should have reigned Bill Wright in, and been the one to tell him that he needed to direct his comments to the Planning Commission – not at me. Brian, the second wetland hearing stands out as one of the most poorly managed meetings I have ever observed, with clapping and inappropriate, derogatory remarks directed at Dr. Adamus, Janus and I, that you did not control. I have also observed John Evans berating Janet Alderton in public meetings (though I don’t recall if that was before the Planning Commission).When that kind of behavior is allowed, people begin to think it is acceptable. It also discourages attendance and participation by those who are uncomfortable with conflict, and it makes us look bad as an organization and as a community.I think one of the things the chair needs to do at the beginning of each planning commission hearing is explain what is going to happen, that testimony needs to be directed to the Planning Commission, and that we ask people to be civil, respectful and keep their testimony focused on the issues. If things start getting out of control, you can clear the room if need be, and resume the meeting (if we are in deliberations) or continue the meeting to another day. If you cannot get the crowd under control, we can always ask for a deputy to come over and clear the room. The point is, there are options for dealing with people like Mr. Wright. It sounds like Randy has met with other committees and commissions to discuss the conduct of meetings and we could schedule time for him to address the Planning Commission on this issue.I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I am mostly available next week and can set up a three way conference call at a time that is convenient for the two of you.Thanks,