Editor’s note: The following is the first of a regular column from City of Sequim Manager Charlie Bush, gleaned from his weekly updates to the Sequim City Council and posted at the city’s website (www.sequimwa.gov/index.aspx?NID=748). The udpates include various topics that Bush and the City Manager’s Office personnel are involved with week to week. The reports are also available by video. — MD
Week ending Jan. 27:
Assisting Homeless Residents
The City Manager’s Office (Joe Irvin) teamed up with the Police Department (Sgt. Mike Hill) and staff from Serenity House to respond to a resident who has been helping several homeless people over the past weeks as she’s encountered them spending time at Carrie Blake Park. They were able to find housing for one homeless person and were reaching out to two other people. These actions represented fantastic cross-departmental and cross-agency teamwork in direct service to the community. Kudos to Joe, Mike, Serenity House and one of our big-hearted residents.
Economic Development Plan Implementation
We began implementing the business retention-expansion part of the Eco Devo Plan this week. We are in the process of preparing and gathering materials and fine tuning our business survey. We also heard a presentation by the firm Buxton (www.buxtonco.com), which helps retailers locate in communities and communities attract retailers. They have an impressive software platform that is an impressive display of big data.
Cold Weather Bench Installation
Our Public Works crew was hard at work again this week and receiving more kudos from the community. What follows is a recap from Public Works Operations Manager Ty Brown in his message to Streets Lead Rick Irish. “I just received a very emotional phone call from a resident. She wants to thank you guys for what a great job you did placing her bench down at the reuse park. She was crying saying with all the snow and rain and ice you were able to pour the concrete and place the bench in time for her family to show up from out of town and everything was placed perfectly. Great job guys against all the elements. Thank you.”
Alliance for Innovation, Innovation Lab
I got back from an Alliance for Innovation event I attended in Bellevue where I learned about some innovative approaches to civic engagement, including using the arts for creative problem solving, fostering more powerful dialog through social media and better engaging under represented communities. The networking was timely and will help to inform an upcoming conversation on community inclusiveness. I also got to do some personal recruiting for a couple of our upcoming vacancies.
Week ending Jan. 20:
You asked me about this topic at the Council Advance on Wednesday. Chief (Sherri) Crain let me know that Sgt. Mike Hill and Officer Tony Bush have narrowed their interest in dog providers. They plan on doing a site visit to the final possible vendors as a part of their dog search in February or March. They want to go when these locations actually have dogs there to evaluate. Mike also is narrowing down dog handler training so we can get that done in the first half of this year.
Chief Crain has determined that the best approach for Police Command staffing right now is to promote a fifth Sergeant and not to fill the her vacated Lieutenant/Deputy Chief Position. Funding from our vacant Lieutenant position will more than cover the extra Sergeant position. At some time in the future, we will consider filling the Lieutenant position with an internal recruitment from our existing Sergeants and then would drop a vacated Sergeant position at that time. In short, we are keeping the same staffing but trading a Sergeant for a Lieutenant. She also has restructured some duties among the Sergeants to facilitate more cross-training and development. Most importantly, please congratulate Officer John Southard on his promotion to Sergeant! He’ll be assigned to patrol.
2016 Annual Report
Our 2016 Annual Report is at the printer. We’ll provide you all hard copies in a few weeks and at that time also will make them more available to the public. We had a productive year and Barb did a fantastic job of capturing it!
Community Conversation on hate
I attended a CommunityPlus discussion centering on the topic of hate in our community Thursday evening (Jan. 19). It was partly generated by a recent incident of hate in the school district. There was a lot of emotion in the meeting and toward the end we were asked to possibly bring in a speaker, or several, on this topic. This is an important topic and we plan to be active on it. Hate, discrimination and bias are present everywhere in different forms, including in Sequim. We can all make progress by focusing on our thoughts, words and actions. One of the initial steps is identifying the issues present in our community and talking about them.
I want to partner with CommunityPlus and others on next steps but we don’t have the capacity to lead an initiative for east Clallam County without taking some other things off of our plates. I will be recommending that we partner on any efforts focused on further uniting our community but that we do not become the primary lead at this time. This will preserve our capacity to deliver on the projects we’ve agreed with you to deliver this year.
As a bit of background, a 10-year review of crime stats by the Police Department indicated that no hate crimes had been reported in Sequim in the past two years. Like a lot of crime categories, crime trends ebb and flow and as a small city, our numbers are so small that reading too much into a year where we have a handful of crimes in one category versus a year where we have none can be misleading.
Charlie Bush is City Manager for the City of Sequim. Reach him at email@example.com or 681-3440.