Freeholders ask for administrative help

"The Kitsap County Board of Freeholders decided Monday to ask the County Commissioners for a $75,000 budget for 2001, with the bulk of that money going to hire a half-time administrator.The freeholders, elected last month as part of a county government reform movement, ratified a recommendation of their ad hoc Budget and Personnel Committee. That group placed a priority on hiring an administrator, who would be responsible for everything from organizing meetings to arranging for guest speakers.Andrew Maron, who chaired the Budget and Personnel Committee, said the administrator would be analogous to a senior planner for a local government. I've been involved in a variety of different governmental processes, said Maron, a Bainbridge Island resident. It's absolutely essential that you have someone who meets with you in these meetings and then gets things done outside the meetings.The committee recommended spending $35,000 on the half-time administrator, $12,000 on a part-time clerical employee, $20,000 on professional services (such as governmental, legal and public information services) and $8,000 on miscellaneous expenses (which range from telephone to Web site costs).With the County Commissioners currently completing the 2001 general fund budget, the freeholders were up against a deadline. If they wanted any funding for next year, they needed to let the commissioners know soon.That budget proposal will be discussed in further detail at the freeholders' next meeting, a workshop scheduled for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at the Island Lake Community Center between Silverdale and Poulsbo.Organizers hope to host a panel discussion at that meeting, with panel members to include veterans of the failed 1970 Kitsap charter reform movement as well as representatives of other successful and unsuccessful home rule movements in Washington.King, Pierce, Snohomish, Whatcom and Clallam counties currently have home rule charter governments.Also scheduled to appear at the Jan. 6 meeting is Hugh Spitzer, an attorney, professor of state constitutional law at the University of Washington and former state Supreme Court candidate. Spitzer is considered one of the foremost experts on the Washington constitution, which governs reform efforts like the one currently under way here, according to freeholder Sharon Shrader, a Port Orchard resident who also serves as county treasurer.The 21-member Board of Freeholders was elected Nov. 7, the same day Kitsap voters approved a Home Rule proposal. The freeholders, seven of whom hail from each of the county's three commissioner districts, are charged with writing a new county charter - essentially a constitution for Kitsap County.They have 18 months to craft a new document, which then will go back to voters for a final thumbs up or thumbs down vote. Also at Monday's meeting, which was just their second, the freeholders:l Created their fourth ad hoc committee, the Nominating Committee. This six-person panel is charged with determining who among the 21 members would be interested in serving as officers of the board. Current plans call for four officers, including a chair, two vice chairs and a secretary/administrator. Jim Avery will chair the Nominating Committee.l Set their regular meeting times. The board now plans to meet on the first Saturday and third Monday of every months, at various locations. The Monday meetings likely will start at 7 p.m., with the Saturday meetings beginning at 9 a.m. We'd envisioned it as an all-day sort of meeting on Saturdays, according to freeholder Matt Ryan. "

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