Do We Want a Citizen Advisory Committee?

The formation of a  citizens advisory committee has been proposed by the Whatcom Ferry Task Force, as well as many islanders,  as a way to deal with on-going issues connected with the Lummi Island ferry.  Councilmember Carl Weimer is getting the ball rolling with an example of what a typical county advisory committee looks like, and is soliciting feedback from us on this subject.  Take a minute and email your thoughts on the subject…..

from Carl Weimer carlweimer@comcast.net
to Carl Weimer <cweimer@co.whatcom.wa.us>
date Sat, Oct 1, 2011 at 10:54 PM
subject Ferry Advisory Committee

Hi all,

As you may know I think some form of citizen advisory committee regarding Lummi Island ferry service would be a good idea. This was also a recommendation of the Ferry Task Force. To get discussion of that idea starting I have drafted what a typical county advisory committee would look like. I am sending this out to as many people on the Island as possible for review and comments to help improve this basic idea, and decide whether this is really something people on Lummi Island think will be of value to both the County Council and the residents of the island. Please feel free to share this far and wide.

Attached and below is the basic template for a Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee. This borrows from the County code to create a committee that is similar to most of the other advisory committees. This should serve as a starting point to decide whether such an advisory committee is worth doing, and what specifics need to be added to make it effective for advising the Council, and representative of ferry user needs.

Here is a list of questions that need to be considered:

1. Is such an ongoing advisory committee an effective way to provide good information to the Council for decisions, or would more time limited task forces charged with specific topics (like the recent ferry task force) be more effective?

2. Who should the committee advise? The Council, Public Works, both?

3. Who should appoint the committee? The Council, the executive?

4. What number of members would be optimal – 7,9,11, more?

5. Should representation from certain groups or areas of expertise be specifically called out? Should there be a County Council member member?

6. Can the committee tend to its own operations (scheduling, minutes, info requests from county departments, etc) or would it need ongoing staff support most likely from Public Works?

7. If county staffing and other resources are needed where should those resources come from and how would they be paid for? Should funding/staff time spent supporting the committee be considered a ferry operation expense and thus potentially add to the fare burden? From Ferry District revenue if created as recommended by Task Force?

Please feel free to provide me comments, concerns, and opinions about whether this form of an advisory committee would be of value, and what you believe would be the best answers to the questions above. If possible please respond to cweimer@co.whatcom.wa.us

Thanks
Carl
cweimer@co.whatcom.wa.us

Template for a FerryAdvisoryCommittee

2 thoughts on “Do We Want a Citizen Advisory Committee?

  1. I responded to Carl earlier and would like to summarize my thoughts here, and some reasoning behind it.
    Yes, we should have a voice in on-going ferry matters, and be responsible to track budgets, fares, docks and other matters. It’s our lifeline.
    As to whether it should be a once in a while Task Force, or permanent Cmmte, I lean towards a small group that meets at least quarterly, is chartered by the Council, reports to them from time to time, and has a Public Works representative for support. Task Forces can get a lot done, as we just witnessed, but must be re-authorized each time. Maybe future Councils aren’t interested in forming one.
    The Cmmte should have specific goals and time-lines, such as a quarterly review of operations, revenues and expenses, bi-annual input on new budgets, and a voice in the 6 year TIP.
    To ensure consistent Island support, three or more members should be allocated to our existing community groups, such as LICA, Grange, Civic Club, or PLIC, while remaining members selected by the Council should serve terms ‘at-large’, and selected for their experience or expertise.
    And finally, I would keep it small rather than large (say no more than 5 or 7 members) as getting large groups together, then finding consensus is worse than trying to herd all the cats on the Island.
    The Task Force did a remarkable job of putting all the pieces on the table. Now is the time to ask “What’s Next”

  2. The County already appointed a Committee to deal with the State Statute for Transportation, by Pete Kremen a few years back.
    The mandatory elements of RCW 36.70A.070, are already written into the Lummi Island Plan.

    Hw many voices does it take, to do the same thing, over, and over again?.

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