Letter to the Editor for July 2, 2013

Government change discussion is a waste of time

I read with interest the opinion this week from Dave Shoemaker, who is on the Washougal City Council. Dave raises a number of excellent points. I’ve had e-mail discussions with several other members of the council and the mayor.

Of all the issues that face the City of Washougal, or any city right now, it seems a terrible waste of time and talent to seek to change the organization structure of the top management of the city. It seems that some people on the council want to change things because they don’t feel they have enough to do, or don’t have enough “power” or perhaps they just don’t like someone. Whatever the reason is they were elected under the current form of government, and they should focus on things that make this city better.

We need the city active in seeking to create jobs, attract more businesses, make the city an even better place to live, to promote the unique values of the City of Washougal. Instead we are launching a major effort to undermine the mayor and the current form of government. I like the current form, if we don’t like the way the mayor and city management are leading us, we get to vote him or her out.

Under new proposal, the mayor becomes a figure head, and we fall under the control of a “professional administrator” who becomes a political employee who reports to the “council” ie. he or she wind up reporting to a committee. Have you ever tried to “fire” a bad administrator? Worse, instead of having a strong leader leading, the administrator winds up having to spend their time keeping each council member happy.

In essence, a professional administrator has to deal with all the ego’s on the council instead of spending their time leading the city. What’s more important, wasting time making sure every ego is taken care of on the council, or having a strong mayor who leads the city (and if we don’t like the direction, we have the voting rights to change it).

John Warta, Washougal