Forum on Clallam County's home-rule charter April 17
SEQUIM -- Hoping to stimulate interest in the Clallam County Charter Review Commission, a forum on the county's home-rule charter and the review commission will be held at the Sequim Prairie Grange, 290 Macleay Road, at 7 p.m. Monday, April 17.
Speaking will be Dan Engelbertson, county administrator; Mike Doherty, one of the three county commissioners; Patty Rosand, county elections coordinator; and Norma Turner, a member of previous charter review commissions.
The goal is to stir interest among possible candidates for the 15 review commission seats that will be on the November ballot.
The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Clallam County, PDN and the Sequim Prairie Grange.
Clallam County is one of five counties in the state with a charter form of government.
Adopted by voters in 1976, Clallam's home-rule charter is a ``constitution'' for county government and allows it to change requirements for county operations beyond those required by the state.
Any changes, however, must comply with state law.
Every five years, voters select five residents from each of the three county commissioner districts to a review commission.
Called ``freeholders,'' they will review the county charter and make recommendations for any changes.
Any recommended amendments from the commission elected this year would be placed on the November 2007 ballot.
The candidate filing period is July 24-28.
There is no limit on the number of people running from the three districts -- in the past there have been up to 17 candidates from each district -- and there is no primary election.
All the candidates will go on the November ballot.
There is no filing fee (and no salary for the job).
Those elected must abide by state laws governing open meetings, public records and financial disclosures.
The commission will get together for its first public meeting within 30 days of the certification of November election results. The commission usually meets twice a month.
The last review commission was elected in 2001.
Clallam County's charter has been amended several times by votes of countywide residents.
Key changes from the statutory form of government -- under which neighboring Jefferson County and other noncharter counties operate -- include many nonpartisan elected officials, a county initiative and referendum process and an elected director for the county Department of Community Development (this amendment recommended by the 2001 review commission was adopted by voters in 2002).
Commission recommendations for 2007 could include increasing the three-member board of county commissioners to five seats -- this has come up several times in the past -- to getting rid of the charter altogether.
For further information on the April 17 forum, contact Vicci Rudin, voter service chair for the League of Women Voters of Clallam County, 360-457-2860, or Sue Erzen, the group's president, 360-681-4916.
``Come and participate in this forum,'' Rudin and Erzen said. ``Maybe you will want to become a candidate.''
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