"Freeholders reverse course on council, exec"

"The Kitsap County Board of Freeholders exercised its prerogative to change its mind at a meeting Saturday, June 9, in Silverdale.The changes mostly involved reworking the structure of the council if voters approve a new charter next spring. The council would have five members, down from the seven picked in a freeholder straw vote earlier this year, according to freeholder Chairwoman Linda Webb. They would be chosen in partisan elections, with each council person nominated and elected by district, in five separate districts.The new proposal also creates an elected, partisan county executive, rather than an appointed administrator, to be elected by the whole county.A provision for an ombudsman was deleted.Other previous decisions - such as making sheriff, auditor, treasurer and assessor non-partisan elected positions - were not changed, Webb added. She said the coroner's job would be appointed, as in a previous draft of the proposed charter, and rights to initiative, referendum and recall also remained.We were very busy Saturday, we changed a lot of decisions, Webb said.The freeholders were so busy they didn't finish their whole agenda and had to have another session last night to complete their business, freeholder Matt Ryan said.The change from seven to five council members was a result of community input.The way we set up the process is we do a straw vote preliminarily, and hopefully the citizens will give us feedback to see if it makes good sense, Webb said.She said 22 people commented at Saturday's meeting, and another 168 turned in written comment forms.People also called freeholders to make their opinions known, Webb said. We had quite a bit of information.As for dividing the county into five districts, each to nominate and elect its own council representative, people felt they wanted a representative to be from their district and they wanted to be able to vote for their own (candidate), Webb said.The vast majority of freeholders approve of being open-minded. We say we're trying to put something together for the people of the county, not for us, Ryan said. I sense that there's no hidden agenda, there's a sincere effort to put together a charter the people will accept.The next regular meeting of the Board of Freeholders is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday June 26, at the Bremerton School District administration building, 134 Marion Ave. "

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