Commissioners consider more Charter amendments for ballot


Peninsula News Network

Clallam County, WA - Clallam County voters could have several Home Rule Charter amendments to consider this Fall, with county commissioners ordering staff to prepare 4 additional amendments that could be placed on the ballot.

That could mean voters will have to decide whether to approve up to eight very technical changes in November.

When the Charter Review Commission met last year to review the rules that govern the operation of county government, the panel decided to place amendments on both last year’s, and this year’s ballot.

The commission already decided to put 4 different amendments on the ballot in November.

The first amendment will get the most attention. It proposes that county commissioners be elected strictly by district, starting in 2005.

The second amendment sets down some specific guidelines for the county to follow in developing the county budget. The third proposal changes how the county can deal with real estate contracts, such as property leases. The fourth would change some details of the county’s personnel system, and specifically clarifies the use of union exempt administrators by elected county department heads.

However, County Administrator Dan Englebertson is also suggesting commissioners place three additional charter amendments on the ballot this Fall.

Those are mainly “housekeeping” amendments. Those include a minor change in the rules on how the county commissioners deal with ordinances, the codification and publishing of ordinances and eliminating language on how the county should charge for copies of the budget. Englebertson says that’s already covered by state law,

The additional amendment being discussed around the courthouse this week has been proposed by the Clallam County League of Women Voters and deals with the period of time between charter reviews. The League members say the charter should only be review every 10 years, instead of every 5. They argue that 10 year timeframe is what other charter counties in the state use, and it would make the process more efficient, especially since the charter has been in existence now for the better part of 30 years and should need as many changes.

The original charter called for a 7-year review process. That’s been changed 3 times by the voters, probably more than any other section of the charter.

Commissioners discussed the 4 additional amendments this week and directed the Prosecutor’s office to work by a proposed ballot title. Those amendments would be subject to a public hearing, with a final decision from the commissioners, before they would be added to the 4 amendments prepared by the Charter Review panel.

We’ll have a more detailed look at the specific impacts of the amendments in upcoming reports here on Peninsula News Net.


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