Friday, March 6, 2009

Blue Ribbon Committee called for

Councilmembers call for Blue Ribbon Committee to review potential appointees for King County Executive
Hague and Constantine say open appointment process allows more voices to be heard

Metropolitan King County Council Vice Chair Jane Hague and Council Chair Dow Constantine today introduced a motion to establish a formal, transparent process for selecting an appointee for King County Executive. The motion would create a Blue Ribbon Committee that would provide for broader participation in the scrutiny of potential appointees.

“It is critical that we make the right choice with this appointment,” said Hague. “By allowing a wider range of involvement in the vetting process, we will ultimately make a better selection for an interim King County Executive without any backroom deals. A more thorough process with a variety of voices will help the Council appoint someone who will address the County’s budget issues, be responsive to the public and give the public confidence in the management of the office until the general election.”

“This is a critical year for King County government and we must move quickly to appoint an interim executive once a vacancy occurs,” said Constantine. “This process must be open and transparent, while bringing forward a pool of candidates who are both capable and viable.”

Executive Ron Sims on February 2 announced he had been nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Administration. Upon his confirmation and resignation from office, the King County Council under the County Charter will appoint an executive to serve until the next general election in November.

The proposed motion would establish a Blue Ribbon Committee to review eligible candidates for appointment as County Executive. Under the proposed process, each member of the County Council may nominate two candidates, and a candidate would need to be nominated by three or more Councilmembers to qualify for review by the Blue Ribbon Committee.

Members of the panel would consist of King County’s separately elected officials –
the Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney and Assessor, and the Presiding Judges of King County District Court and Superior Court – joined by one representative each from:

• The Municipal League of King County
• The League of Women Voters of Greater Seattle
• The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce
• The East King County Chambers of Commerce Coalition
• The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
• The Chinese Chamber of Commerce
• The Criminal Justice Council
• Organized labor, and
• The environmental community

The Blue Ribbon Committee would meet, on an expedited schedule, to review the qualifications of eligible candidates and to select two to five names to forward to the King County Council by March 31.

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