“The Charter is a county constitution designed to give the control of county affairs to the people of the county rather than requiring legislation from Olympia. In addition to the election of our public officials, specific powers reserved to the people clallam county flagare initiative, referendum, mini-initiative and recall.” – page one of the Clallam County Charter
Clallam county will start a “Home Rule ” charter review this fall. The Clallam county charter was created in 1976 and is one of six Washington “Home Rule” counties in the state. The charter was set up to be the constitution of the county government. It gives the citizens of the county the power to evaluate government and make changes if needed.
The state constitution requires chartered counties to review their charter every eight years. The charter review includes electing 15 freeholders. These duly elected freeholders will then set up meetings throughout the county to find out what people would like to focus on and whether the charter is addressing the right issues.
The charter commission will have up to a year to study issues it chooses. It may make recommendations to the Clallam County Commission or propose amendments to be placed on the ballot for approval by county voters in 2015.
Previously the freeholder review commission decided to review the status of the county’s Director of Community Development which had been an appointed position. The charter review commissioners placed the issue on the ballot and county citizens voted to make the position an elected position. It is the only elected position of its kind in the nation.
Five freeholder commissioners will be elected from each of the county’s three districts.
- District 1 comprises Sequim, Blyn and neighboring areas.
- District 2 includes Port Angeles east of Valley Street, Agnew, Carlsborg and neighboring areas west of Sequim.
- District 3 comprises the west side of Port Angeles, Joyce, Forks, Sekiu, Neah Bay, and neighboring areas.
Information Meeting set for April 14th
The Port Angeles League of Women Voters will conduct an information session at the Port Angeles Library on “How to run for the Clallam County Charter Review Commission,” 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14. County Commissioner Mike Doherty, Auditor Patty Rosand and some former charter reviewers will be available to discuss the charter election and process, according to the league’s event announcement.
Copies of the charter are available at the County Courthouse in Port Angeles or online at http://www.clallam.net/Board/assets/applets/2007_Charter.pdf