nwnews-now : local news in your e-mail box as it happens


If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Citizens Advisory Committee It is apparent that the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) has become a #1 focus of the [Woodinville Fire District] Commissioners, and that the future of the CAC--its role, membership, and control--will allegedly be determined by the commissioners.
   I attended the May 20 meeting, and had to leave before the commissioners returned from executive session, so was not witness to all of the discussion (about the CAC).
   I would like to think that Commissioner Callon was misquoted: "Aren't we (commissioners) supposed to be in control of them (the CAC)?" I am shocked by such a naive statement.
   How can one of our elected commissioners think for a minute that the board should control a citizen group--volunteers--a group of taxpayers--the very people for whom the commissioners work.
   The commissioners work for the citizens, not the other way around. The commissioners answer to the citizens--the public. We, the citizens, will not acquiesce to control by the Board of Fire Commissioners.
   Commissioner Callon's suggestion and apparent recommendation that the CAC be renamed and brought under control of the board would defeat the very intent of a Citizens Advisory Committee: that being a group of concerned citizens, who are not linked to or controlled by the commissioners or the Fire District. This independence allows the group to operate without an agenda imposed by either group.
   This suggestion that the CAC "...could help out in the office, volunteer to staff non-critical positions..." implies that the CAC members are simply a group of people with extra time on our hands.
   I hope that Attorney Snure's volunteering to "provide examples of what other districts are doing in this vein" is pro bono. I, as a taxpayer, would not authorize attorney fees for finding answers to questions which could be gotten from the CAC (if the commissioners would ask for input from the current CAC members)--or from our Public Educator, Dave Leggett. I know for a fact that he has done some fact-finding on this topic, and that information has already been paid for.
   Let's be honest, Commissioners. Isn't the real agenda to suppress the CAC as a voice which brings valid concerns and questions to the commissioners? That voice, the voice of citizens, which occasionally challenges the commissioners, would be silenced if the commissioners controlled the CAC.
   Before the board hastily decides on the fate and future of the CAC, or whatever new name the board prefers, I suggest that the commissioners sit down with the current CAC members and talk. As an involved citizen, I think there are obvious common interests and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how the CAC can continue to be of service to the board and the Fire District.
   Remember the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The CAC is not broken, so let's not attempt to fix it.

Robert Vogt, CAC Member