Council goal setting meeting planned

Sequim’s city council aims to mend its ways.

With the arrival of four new members — Mayor Laura Dubois, Ken Hays, Erik Erichsen and Susan Lorenzen — a rift developed between the “old” and the “new” council.

“I could see that the seven of us were not working very well together,” councilman Walt Schubert said during a Feb. 11 meeting. “What kind of example are we setting for the rest of the community?”

Schubert was attempting to pass what he referred to as “council norms,” a list of good manners for the council to follow, from “don’t blind side each other” to “pick your cause.” The rules were created and approved by another council in 2000. Schubert said the rules would help the council to work together constructively.

The list was never approved but the discussion prompted Councilman Bill Huizinga to recommend that the city hire a facilitator to moderate a goal-setting meeting, which is scheduled for April 12. Steven Nolen will facilitate the meeting.

Huizinga said he suggested the meeting because he was having difficultly communicating with fellow council members.

“I haven’t been able to figure out what they want to accomplish,” Huizinga said. “It’s more about keeping things in order.”

Each council member has met with Nolen to discuss individual goal and according to city manager Bill Elliott, Nolen is putting together an agenda. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Transit Center.

“It’s basically a way to find some common ground,” Dubois said about the meeting. She said there are major projects — such as a new city hall — that she believes the council will have no trouble agreeing to set as goals. Councilman Ken Hays said his personal goals are about open and transparent government, as well as staff performance standards.

“I’ve got a whole little outline,” Hays said.

Hays said he is continuing to work toward establishing a Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

“It’s evolving in my mind,” Hays said. “I see it as focusing on more than just planning issues.”

During the April 7 city council study session, Hays brought forward a short list of residents interested in the advisory committee, as well as names of representatives from other stakeholders in the community who might serve on the committee. Those interested in participating should contact city manager Bill Elliott at 681-3440.

While the majority of the council sees the April 12 meeting as beneficial, Schubert believes that without “respect and good manners” or established council norms, the meeting won’t make a tremendous difference or improve the council’s ability to communicate.

“I don’t expect that much to come out of the meeting, to be quite honest,” said Schubert.

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