They must have set the Way-Back machine at the first Charter Review Commission meeting and never turned it off. The recommendations from the CRC, as they enter the final stretch of their journey, gut the charter.
If the voters adopt what is the current working model, they'll almost completely undo what was overwhelmingly approved in 2006. The few parts of the charter retained are non-partisan elections, the power of the initiative, mini-initiative and referendum.
We'd be back to square one. What was the point of all of the work to become a Home Rule County. To eliminate the imbalance of representation. To install the one person - one vote concept. To stop the county council members from individually interfering with departments to further personal agendas. To stop the county from operating with three bosses.
What effective organization runs with three heads. What financially responsible organization operates with three bosses with equal power and who don't necessarily or likely agree running the day-to-day activities.
Imagine the stress of working under that kind of management. Imagine the inefficiency. Imagine the drain on the county coffers.
Think about other organizations, for example, school districts, ports, water district, sewer districts, library districts; recreation districts. Their board of directors wouldn't necessarily have expertise in running the operation of schools, airports, marinas, public works, libraries.
Using the CRC's logic, individual board members of these types of groups, would oversee the day-to-day operations. ;
Except in special circumstances, government is set up for citizens to elect people to set policy. They are called legislators.
In San Juan County we don't elect administrators. They are hired.
If the CRC believes administration should be done by an elected official instead of a professional, make it an elected position and put it on the ballot. Be up front about it.
Under the charter, the administrator is hired by the council based on his/her professional qualifications. Professional staff with expertise and skill in the applicable areas are hired.
Let's take advantage of the skills and talents of everyone - legislators, administrator and staff by letting them excel in their roles. That is what the current charter was supposed to do.
The problem is the charter has never been implemented. It hasn't been followed. The council micromanages, the administrator doesn't administrate and staff are caught in the middle.
The charter shouldn't be gutted. It should be reviewed. The commission should figure out what needs to be strengthened so the charter is followed. So the will of the voters who adopted it by a wide margin is carried out.
The CRC's working model includes a three-member full-time commission with legislative and administrative authority elected countywide from each of three districts, a professional County Administrator who works for the County Council and is charged with assisting them in carrying out the administrative responsibilities of the County. countywide non-partisan elections and the powers of initiative, referendum and mini-initiative.
Protect the charter, vote against any proposal to gut it this fall.
Don't look back, look forward to a real review in 2018.