Council takes aim at mayoral influence

POULSBO — In the wake of the city council committee assignments instituted by Mayor Kathryn Quade and the selection of the deputy mayor and alternate deputy mayor, the mayor may lose her say in such matters.

The waves of dissent that started in Dec. 21, 2005 when long-standing committee members were replaced and the deputy mayor and alternate deputy major were chosen washed into the council’s finance/administration committee meeting last week.

That committee was tasked — during the same December meeting — with examining the selection processes used and bringing its recommendations to the full council for discussion.

At the Feb. 15 finance/administration committee meeting, Councilman Dale Rudolph said he was aggravated at the selection process and not the mayor.

“This isn’t a Kathryn Quade problem, I had just as much of an issue with DJ,” Rudolph said. “Inevitably, no one knew what going to happen until it was too late.”

Instead of having each council member tell the mayor what committees they want to be on, all seven need to meet to discuss what everyone wants, he said.

“Council committees were created by the council to do the work of the council,” Rudolph said, noting that the committees do not report to mayor.

“I don’t think it should be a political tool of the mayor,” Councilwoman Connie Lord said. “This wasn’t set up for the mayor’s needs. It was set up for our needs.”

Lord added that the council should take it out of the mayor’s hands and have a special meeting to make committee selections.

“Everybody has to rotate on and we can’t have people on some committees forever and ever,” Lord said.

Councilman Jim Henry proposed that members rotate by position instead of by name.

“If you do it by position number, it’s oblivious to personality and it just rotates,” Henry said.

However, at least one existing committee member should stay on each committee during the rotation, Rudolph added.

City Clerk Karol Jones told the committee that instead of making new assignments at the end of the year, it should consider starting the new committees in February so newly elected council members have a say in the matter.

“Let’s go for February and just make the changes in February,” Lord urged.

As an olive branch to the mayor, Rudolph suggested that the mayor participate in the selection process but not be given a vote.

In addressing the selection of the city’s deputy mayor and alternate deputy mayor, the committee urged that the council formalize its long-standing tradition of having its two most senior members fill those positions.

Mayor Quade had recommended having those positions rotate annually among council members to give everyone experience in serving those roles.

Quade nominated Rudolph for deputy mayor and Lord for alternate deputy mayor, but the council voted Councilman Jeff McGinty as deputy mayor and concurred with Lord’s nomination.

“This whole thing came about because we need to give everybody experience,” Lord said. “There is no experience.”

McGinty only filled in for former mayor Donna Jean Bruce at a council meeting one time during her tenure, Lord said.

“My first and foremost objection to the deputy mayor and alternate deputy mayor was that it broke tradition,” Rudolph said. “It was all about the mayor and it shouldn’t have been.”

The council could ask people to submit nominations or it could go with tradition, he said.

“It’s an honor in the first place and if something should happen, we’re going to sit down and pick the next mayor anyway,” he said.

With Rudolph pushing for the traditional approach, Lord joined him and recommended that the council follow its custom in those selections.

“The council should write the policy and the council should nominate and the council should vote and the mayor should stay out of it,” Rudolph said as the committee unanimously agreed to stay with the traditional approach.

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