Week ending March 3
• Spring Clean-Up — We had a discussion back on Oct. 24 at a city council meeting, as a part of 2017 budget discussions, about foregoing the annual spring clean-up in lieu of four annual “Rally in the Alley” style clean-ups that would occur in neighborhoods. These would be more focused on city residents, more proactive in that we have volunteer support to go directly into neighborhoods, and more cost effective. To date, we have not turned anyone away depositing things from other areas of the city so they’ve acted as “mini community clean-ups.” A member of the community and some councilors were surprised when we canceled the Spring Clean-Up for 2017 as a result of last fall’s budget discussion. Since we’ve only had one Rally in the Alley this year so far, we could still revisit the decision.
• Facilitated Evaluation — My contract calls for a facilitated evaluation, which we would need to get going in about June to hit the target of August for completing it. Since I’ve had a chance to work with all of you for a while now, we have a different scenario than last year. I’m willing to waive this provision in my contract for this year to save about $5,000 for the City, if you are willing to do the same. Please let me know if you have any concerns with forgoing the facilitator. The alternative approach is that we’ll need to agree on how we’ll proceed/methodology without a third party involved. I will plan a future discussion with you on this topic before June.
• Draft Light Timing Study — We had a records request for a copy of the light timing study. Since we cited it in a recent grant application, even though it is a draft, we need to provide a copy to the requester. Since we have not shared a copy with you yet, we’ll be sending you a copy as well. Public Works continues to review the draft and will be providing feedback to the consultant. That feedback may change it a bit, since it is a draft. We plan to come to you in April or May with a final report and recommendations on next steps.
• Emergency Management Meeting — We convened our emergency management partners for our monthly meeting this past week. Progress continues on all fronts, including updating our emergency response plan, outfitting the communications equipment in our emergency operations center, enhancing relationships and partnerships, developing new interlocal agreements between agencies, enhancing business resiliency, pre-positioning equipment/supplies/contracts, enhancing public preparedness and even working with KSQM on pre-recorded disaster messages. A number of us are planning to travel to a wildfire this summer, along with Fire District 3, to shadow an incident management team for 24-48 hours so that we are better prepared should an incident of large magnitude impact Sequim in the future.
• University of Washington — I was asked last summer to team teach a session at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs. It is a Saturday session, occurring on April 8. I’ll be teaching a section, focused on career development, of a local government course in the Master of Public Administration Degree Program, along with the city managers from Mercer Island and Fife, and the city supervisor from Pullman. I’ve done some lecturing in the past with WSU, Evergreen, Seattle University and Wittenberg University. Someday, far in the future, I might teach when I retire from active city management. I will not miss any work but wanted you to be aware that I am doing this and will be out of town for the day.
Week ending Feb. 24
• Legislative Action Conference — Mayor Smith, Deputy Mayor Miller, Councilor Starr, City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese, City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross and I spent Feb. 15-16 in Olympia. We heard presentations from the governor, state legislators and Association of Washington Cities lobbyists regarding work going on at the Legislature. On Wednesday evening, we had dinner with representatives from the cities of Port Angeles and Port Townsend. On Thursday, we met with Sen. Van De Wege, and Reps. Tharinger and Chapman, jointly with the cities of Port Townsend and Port Angeles.
While we were in Olympia, we learned that the Off Dungeness Channel Reservoir remained on a list in the Senate for transfer from the Department of Natural Resources to the county. We also sat in on Senate hearings involving two water bills and an agricultural tourism liability bill. All three had a possible impact on our community and the testimony and questioning from senators was fascinating and helpful for future discussions we’ll be having, particularly on water.
• Community Inclusion, Next Steps — I am working with CommunityPlus to organize some additional meetings to further support inclusiveness in our community. Our next step is to pull together stakeholders to design a series of upcoming conversations. Stay tuned!
• News from the Police Department — The Police Department has been busy recently doing something they do well, solving crimes. Here are some highlights:
1) Solved a commercial burglary of the Sprint store that led to solving two other commercial burglaries in January, those of the Northwest Tobacco Emporium and the Sequim Smoke Shop. The suspect is a juvenile male.
2) Solved a significant quantity of mail thefts that had occurred in Port Angeles, the county and in Sequim. Officer Larsen responded to a call by a resident near QFC whom had noticed mail on the ground. Officer Larsen contacted two individuals in a vehicle behind QFC and was able to build a case that solved thefts from 30 different residences. The adult male and female were arrested, booked into Clallam County Jail and charged with multiple felonies.
3) Investigated four auto thefts. At least one auto was stripped of some parts, a case similar to several cases being investigated by the Port Angeles Police Department. One stolen vehicle appears to have been used to commit other crimes, such as theft and burglary. All vehicles were abandoned shortly after they were stolen. We advise citizens to lock their vehicles and to not leave keys or valuables in their vehicles.
• Civic Center Plaza — We suffered some recent damage to the Civic Center Plaza, likely from skateboarding. We are in the process of repairing the damage, installing some mitigation equipment and considering other options to reduce the chances of this happening in future.
Charlie Bush is City Manager for the City of Sequim. Reach him at 681-3440 or email@example.com.