Community Editorials Opinion

Guest opinion: Ordinance makes city’s operations less transparent

Posted on August 5th, 2022 By: Jeni Woock

At the July 25th Gig Harbor City Council meeting the council passed Ordinance #1492 and you need to know why I could not support it.

  • Ordinance #1492 changes the way our Gig Harbor volunteers are selected to serve on our boards, commissions and committees.
  • These volunteer positions are very critical because volunteer commissioners take their personal time to delve deeply into issues and bring those issues forward, for council decisions on new regulations, ordinances and funding of some projects that benefit our community.
  • Historically and until July 25, 2022, this process was transparent.  Interviews were posted online so you could hear and see the process and how your tax dollars are being spent.

On April 25, 2022, council passed Ordinance 1486 that repealed GH, code 2.51, a law requiring interviews for applicants. Those meetings and interviews were posted online for all to hear and/or see. Those interviews and transparency were wiped away.

On July 25 council passed Ordinance/law #1492 to take the place of #1486. There are no plans for interviews, posting or transparency for our citizens.

There is no plan in Ordinance #1492 for any transparency to create trust with our citizens and so I voted no.

This new ordinance is legal but does not serve the people.

Until July 25, 2022, Gig Harbor had a track record of going over and above to make sure this process was transparent for GH citizens to see. Just because a new ordinance is voted into law does not mean transparency should be eliminated. Accountability and transparency is what Gig Harbor citizens expect and deserve.

NEVER in the history of Gig Harbor have we had a law, Ordinance #1486, that takes away from citizens the right to know. Remember, it is your tax dollars that pay for everything we do at the city. I believe transparency is vital for all citizens. Transparency builds trust and secrecy will destroy trust.

If transparency is important to you, it is vital your voice is heard.

I believe there is one opportunity left to restore transparency that citizens expect, back to this process.  Council is planning a study session on August 11 to discuss if there should be any procedural changes that bring trust and transparency back to the people.

MY PROPOSAL: “Interviews with all applicants for all commissions, boards and committees shall be posted online prior to any council confirmation.”

If transparency and what’s going on at city hall is important to you, your voice is vital. Send comments to [email protected]

Jeni Woock

Gig Harbor City Council