Council appoints interim advisory committee

In Sequim it takes a committee to build a committee.

A Citizens Advisory Committee was first discussed in early February, but it took until April for a plan for the proposed group to begin to take shape. At the city council’s April 14 meeting, members agreed to an interim committee to take responsibility for fleshing out the structure and purposes of a future and permanent board.

“This is not meant to be the final committee,” city manager Bill Elliott said.

The interim committee is scheduled to meet for the first time Friday, April 25 at 10 a.m. in the Transit Center.

The idea of a Citizen Advisory Committee was introduced by newly elected Councilman Ken Hays. At first Hays saw the group as a means of investigating and reviewing a number of the city’s development issues, including a review of the municipality’s comprehensive plan. Hays wanted the committee members to represent the various aspects of area planning, growth and development. He wanted to include engineers, planners, architects, developers, city residents and members of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. Hays still maintains that the committee should encompass diverse representation but says the group’s focus and goals could reach beyond planning and development.

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

Hays added that he would like the committee to be a standing one, meaning that it would become a permanent part of city government. In this respect the committee would be very much like the city’s Planning Commission, which also has an advisory role and often is seen as an arm of the Sequim City Council.

The role of the interim committee will be to create the structure of the future, final committee, from the committee’s makeup to how members are chosen, as well as decide its goals and scope of work. According to Elliott, the committee would be council-authorized and subject to the state’s Open Meetings Act. Elliott will act as council liaison to the interim board.

Although Hays will be attending the interim committee’s initial meeting, he said he does not want it to seem as though he is pushing his own agenda. He said the goal of the interim committee is to self-organize and to decide what tasks are worthwhile. Hays said they might even come to the conclusion that a permanent board is not needed. “It’s going to be a good dynamic,” special projects manager Frank Needham said of the interim committee when he informed the Planning Commission of its existence on April 15. “These are volunteers that know they’re going to do some hard work.”

Planning Commission chairman Larry Freedman wondered how the committee would coexist with the Planning Commission, which historically has been the group to deal with the city’s planning, growth and development issues.

“It creates an interesting question and that is who, what, where?” Freedman said.

Box: Sequim’s Interim Citizens Advisory Committee members are Annette Nesse, Bill Littlejohn, Clea Rome, Ruth Marcus, Judy Larsen, Sherry Siegel, Jane Manzar, Sid Maroney, Jim Williams, Jack and Cindy Caldecott, John Cambalik, Jay Ward, Don Hall, Pat Clark, Del Delabarre and Pat Johansen. The city is looking for more members. If interested, call city manager Bill Elliott at 681-3440.

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