From 2004 to 2011, I served as your county engineer working under both the county commissioner and the current charter-based county council forms of government. Based on this experience, it is my opinion the county council together with a professional county administrator following the charter best serves our needs.
Look at the results. Workplace stability so work can get done without political interference or threats. Several long overdue management plans and road projects were completed: Rosario Master Plan, Deer Harbor Hamlet Plan, Orcas Village Plan, Lopez Village Growth Area Plan, the Fisherman Bay Road project, the Buck Bay Bridge on Orcas, and the Roche Harbor Dock and Float for outer islanders, just to name a few. The part-time county council accomplished more work than the full-time BOCC could ever get done in the same time frame. Isn’t getting work done what we pay our legislators to do? Why would we want to go back to the past?
This progress was possible because of the two time-tested principles in the charter: equal representation based on population and separation of powers. If approved, Propositions 1 and 2 will eliminate these principles by amendment.
Proposition 1 would take us back to the three-member BOCC where the district with one-sixth the population would have three times the power as San Juan and one and one-half times the power as Orcas. Is this equal representation based on population?
Under the charter’s Separation of Powers section, the professional county administrator carries out the daily operation of the county under policies, ordinances, and resolutions passed by the county council. Do we really want to go back to the past when the three-member BOCC would give conflicting orders to staff resulting in dysfunction, turnover, and poor productivity? Let’s keep politics out of the daily operations so the county’s work can get done.
Keep the key charter principles and give the charter time to work. Please vote to reject Propositions 1 and 2.
John Van Lund