Concerns of the public should be addressed in a public forum
To the Commissioners of Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District:
Commissioner Callon approached us as we were leaving the last commissioners' meeting, offered his phone number, and invited us to call him any time to address any concerns or questions we might have.
Well, that is precisely our concern: the lack of public accountability by the fire commissioners. Why would we call Commissioner Callon privately with our public concerns? You must address the concerns of the public in a public forum so that the elected officials can be held accountable.
In the past several months, you have done everything you can to exclude public input into your decision making, and have ignored public concern when there is disagreement or questions concerning some of your policies and decisions:
Commissioner Callon told us that "there is just no time to answer everyone's questions at these meetings." We disagree. Historically, almost no one comes to these meetings. There has been increased attendance lately because, as we've said, many people are concerned about recent decisions made by the fire commissioners and your failure to respond to the public.
- You unilaterally disbanded the Citizen's Advisory Committee, the very committee that the fire commissioners years ago asked to be created so they could stay in tune with the needs of the public.
- You will not answer questions at the commissioners' meetings. Could you imagine going to a school board meeting with concerns about your children's education and the board members refusing to address them? How would you feel if the County Council was considering rezoning your neighborhood and you and your neighbors went to the council meetings only to discover that they have passed a resolution not to answer any questions from the public!
Other public entities (the city council, the county council, the school board, the school district) schedule supplemental meetings designed especially to gather public input when there are issues of public concern. You currently have no method for receiving input or for addressing the concerns of the public.
Your job as elected officials is to represent the citizens of the district. Our opinions aren't solicited, our concerns are not addressed. The public is currently being left out of the loop.
Commissioner Callon emphasized that we have every right to express our concerns during "public comment" at the commissioners' meetings ... which is what we're doing now. It is your obligation as elected officials to respond publicly to our concerns. How do you propose to do this?
Deborah Crawford & Teri Engelbrecht, Woodinville