05/26/2006: "A Balance of Friends"
Our County Council is reported to have just appointed a seven member citizen panel to interview candidates for the new County Administrator position. The idea with most citizen committees is that they should be composed of a broad and balanced spectrum of the public that they are there to represent.
By my count six of the seven people appointed are members/supporters of the Friends of the San Juans. One of the six is the Friends Vice President, Lynn Bahyrch, an attorney who has been very active for several years in trying to stop the citizens of our county from being allowed to build Guest Houses.
Does this sound like a committee that is intended to provide balanced representation for all of our citizens? Packing our citizen committees with their "Friends" and supporters is getting to be a habit with our County Council.
In their struggle to hang on to as much of their power as possible the County Council is clearly trying to make sure they hire a County Administrator who will do their bidding. They are counting on this "citizens committee" to help support their decision.
The new charter was intended to provide some separation of powers between the Council and the Administrator. This can only work if the Administrator is hired based strictly on qualifications for the job and not on the basis of whether he or she has the politics that the Friends of the San Juans find to their liking. This seven person committee is not in the least reflective of our diverse community.