Mayor or manager debate to go public
June 10, 2008 · Updated 5:53 PM
"POULSBO - Should Poulsbo continue with its current mayor-council government or would a council-manager status be better suited as the city looks to the future? This is what the people of Little Norway will have to decide on May 15 when the talk over the two forms of government ends and the mail-in voting begins. To help educate the public on the issue, the Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce this week will begin an informational campaign showing the strengths and weaknesses of the two choices. The group will be mailing out election packets later this week and plans to kick off its public hearing schedule on Saturday, said Chamber Executive Director Robert Ford. This is to get the conversation with the public started, Ford said of the meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 7 at the Poulsbo Sons of Norway. Two additional town meetings will follow on April 14 at 10 a.m. at the Sons of Norway and on April 21 at 1 p.m. at the Fire District 18 station in Poulsbo. The discussions will also be broadcast on Bremerton-Kitsap Access Television. We want to provide answers to any unanswered questions and encourage people to express their opinions freely in that setting, Ford explained. I'm also available for questions and the chamber is available as well. The packet offers not only a comparison of mayor-council and council-manager but provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about both forms, including what the mayor or manager does, who sets city policy, who appoints or removes department heads and how the mayor or manager is removed from office. I've heard a lot of discussion as to what the difference is, Ford said, noting that he was anxious to hear what types of issues will be raised during the public sessions. They shouldn't be controversial but they should be interesting. The whole idea here is to stimulate dialogue. He also pointed out that while the chamber was playing the role of facilitator in the process, it is absolutely a neutral party on the election. The chamber of commerce does not have a position on this, Ford remarked. "