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Everett council closer to setting rules for itself

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EVERETT — City leaders are still working out the kinks of new rules that should make their business more open and efficient.
There are signs that work may be moving toward a resolution soon.
Council President Paul Roberts Wednesday presented what he called a “straw” proposal — a starting point for talking about some basic ground rules.
See a copy at www.heraldnet.com or at the City Council website.
He said the matter will be up for more talking next week and he hopes to schedule a vote soon.
Everett remains one of the few councils statewide without written procedures for how to do business.
That’s led to some embarrassing public missteps, such as a surprise vote in January to move meetings to night.
That angered dozens of people who wrote, called and showed up council meetings to chastise the council for forgetting who they served.
Since the flap, the council has taken steps to change:
  • The council, with a lot of help from city staff, has done away with committees. Now the work gets done as an entire council during regular meetings.
    The public gets more notice of upcoming issues with a new overhauled agenda. They also get another comment time at the end of meetings.
    The council has held four public talks as it tries to hash out some rules for how it does business.
    What they haven’t done is involve the public they serve in the changes.
    A group of neighbors in north Everett spent weeks researching what other cities do. They presented their own ideas in a 11-page draft in March. They haven’t heard back from the council, said Barb Lamoureux, a local real estate agent and a member of the group.
    She criticized the council Wednesday for “taking an extraordinary amount of time to develop something that should be fairly easy.”
    She said she hopes the council addresses some issues that she believes keep the public from being a part of city business, such as a long-standing policy to not have discussion or public comment until just before an issue is about to be voted on.
    “We belong here, too, and we want to help make this happen for the city,” she said.
    Debra Smith: 425-339-3197, dsmith@heraldnet.com
  • Story tags » GovernmentEverett

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