Freeholders tab O'Connor as charter writer

"The Kitsap County Board of Freeholders hired James N. O'Connor of Bainbridge Island to write a new county charter, freeholder chair Linda Webb announced Thursday, June 7.O'Connor, an attorney, was an elected member of the King County Board of Freeholders in 1967, and was appointed to the King County charter review committee in 1976.O'Connor also was a five-term King County Hearing Examiner and worked for the state Attorney General's Office, according to Webb. I've been following the Kitsap Freeholder's process with great interest, O'Connor said in a press release. Being selected to write the Charter based on their decisions is a great honor and I'm happy to be able to assist, he added.O'Connor's biggest job will be to turn our decisions into standardized charter language, Webb said, and make sure the freeholders haven't overlooked any legal or constitutional provisions.The Kitsap County Commissioners allocated $28,000 for the position, which freeholders are calling a writer/editor. That's the worst-case scenario, if we need lots of help, Port Orchard resident Webb said. We don't think we're going to need lots of help because of work done by freeholder committees.The money was part of a $108,000 freeholders budget approved by the commissioners Monday, June 4.Of that $108,000, $25,800 pays part of the salary and benefits of freeholders staffer Terrie O'Neill. Another $11,000 covers office supplies, postage, advertising costs, printing and binding and travel expenses. Most of the remainder covers cost of county technical support and prosecutor's office assistance to the freeholders.Webb said the freeholders originally only requested $75,000 - a total which didn't include the $33,000 in time budgeted for assistant prosecutor Sue Tanner and the county Web master. County Administrator Malcolm Fleming said the extra $33,000 was an attempt to reflect the true costs of the freeholder process.It's not that we had to budget additional funding for these activities, he said. But Sue Tanner ... and some other people had to work on these activities, and they weren't working on other things. We wanted to make sure we were reflecting all the costs.These people are already on the county staff, they're already in the budget. We are simply using county resources ... in pursuit of our mission, Webb said. (The county) basically want to make sure there's some sort of knowledge or record that they participated.The county originally budgeted $37,000 for the freeholders The additional money comes from the county's reserve fund, which is set aside to cover unforeseen expenses, according to Fleming. The freeholders are scheduled to meet from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. today, June 9, at Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue station 51, 10955 Silverdale Way N.W. They plan to review the initial draft of their proposed charter and make final adjustments before submitting it to the writer/editor. "

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