Council quarrels over committees

The city council gave another demonstration Monday night of the daunting task facing the facilitator of its upcoming closed door team-building session.

A memo from City Attorney Craig Ritchie discussing "the authority of council members appointed to outside organizations" set the stage for part two of the committee assignment dispute from the Jan. 5 study session.

After Ritchie briefly discussed the memo and the reason for it, City Councilor Walt Schubert asked why Mayor Laura Dubois changed the council's committee assignments, including removing the Boys & Girls Club, without discussion by the council:

"Why can't we all have input?"

Dubois said that had been discussed during the 2009 budget process.

Then City Councilor Paul McHugh, who was not present at the Jan. 5 study session, said he was disturbed to read about Schubert's assignment to the Clallam Economic Development Council and his assignment to the Boys & Girls Club.

Dubois gaveled him down, declaring, "That's not on topic and, if you have a question regarding committee assignments, you can discuss it with me. The topic is the authority of councilors with committee assignments."

When the meeting's agenda items were completed, Schubert cited the council rules that allow an item to be added if three councilors agree.

After getting agreement from McHugh and Huizinga, Schubert began the discussion again.

How committee assignments were made with some removed from the list was "bothersome" because the issue never was brought before the entire council, he said.

Dubois said assignments are made by the mayor with no confirmation necessary.

Schubert said there was a lot of discussion about funding for the Boys & Girls Club and how it would be spent, so eliminating the council's representative to the group didn't make sense.

Dubois said the city doesn't have representatives to its other contractors.

Schubert said the city's other contractors aren't scrutinized as much as the Boys & Girls Club.

City Councilor Bill Huizinga tried to calm the situation by calmly asking, "There, all of a sudden, it disappears. Why?"

Dubois said the Boys & Girls Club is a contractor, not a government agency, and she tried to equitably distribute 22 committee assignments among six councilors.

"Normally it's brought before the city council," Huizinga said.

McHugh said the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council also are city contractors.

"Then take a look at all

of them if that's the only

reason. We have to be consistent," he said.

McHugh said he would refuse to serve as the council's EDC representative, adding that Schubert has done that during all the years he has been on the council.

Schubert declared at the Jan. 5 study session that he did not want the assignment because he already spent too many nights at meetings but attended the Jan. 6 planning commission meeting.

Finally, Huizinga said, "I'll be the EDC representative."

McHugh said he told the council that his business commitments didn't allow him to serve on committees but he agreed to do so in the interests of harmony until he was assigned to the EDC instead of Schubert.

Dubois concluded the exchange by saying, "Thank you, Bill, for taking on the EDC. Susan and I have five committees each."

Reach Brian Gawley at briangawley@sequim

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