Freeholders might complete first charter draft by June

"Already a few weeks behind, the Kitsap County Board of Freeholders Saturday adopted an ambitious work plan that sets Nov. 19 as the deadline to hand over a revised charter to the county commissioners. The most important thing about the work plan is that they agreed on how to go about doing the charter, said Terrie O'Neill, a Kitsap County staffer assigned to assist the freeholders.Whether members will be able to stick to the work plan will depend on a number of factors, including how many special meetings they schedule and how many revisions they make to the county charter.I believe our work schedule will be driven to a large degree by how much tinkering we do with local government, said Sharon Shrader, a freeholder from Bremerton.According to the schedule, the freeholders will begin by learning about county government through presentations from elected officials. After that, they will make their own presentations and seek public input. The group hopes to have the first draft of the charter written by June 1; they will revise that draft and take it back to the public for comment. The group hopes to disband before Jan. 10, 2002. In addition to approving a time line, the group unanimously adopted one final clause of its bylaws - governing how the board will adopt the charter - and organized work committees. The freeholders will be broken down into an executive committee that ensures coordination among committees; standing committees for media relations, public participation, and a charter development committee that includes all 21 freeholders; and various ad hoc committees that will disband after completion of assigned tasks. Freeholders spent much of their Saturday, Feb. 10 meeting discussing how the public participation committee would get the word out about the freeholders' work, how public comments will be gathered about how the charter should be changed.What we're looking for from this committee are a variety of creative ways to gather public input - outside of public hearings, said Linda Webb of Port Orchard, chairwoman of the freeholders.Members disagreed on how much of the charter should be framed before they sought public opinion. They agreed, however, that the group must present a united front and have a standard address to give to the public - perhaps a five-minute Microsoft Power Point presentation.We need to list our options ahead of time, said Marcus Hoffman, a freeholder from Silverdale. We need to have a clear framework or it will be chaos.The freeholders' next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27. Elected officials will give presentations on how county government works at that meeting. "

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