It's noteworthy that so many have signed up to run for the Pierce County Charter Review Commission (TNT, 5-17). Former elected officials of both political stripes, once again as private citizens, provide a wealth of experience or protection of the status quo, depending on your viewpoint. Newcomers offer a fresh perspective on governance and should be considered by voters as well. That was the charter's intent.
What is troubling are the filings of a sitting County Council member and his immediate staff.
The candidacy of Jim McCune and his administrative aide creates an immediate conflict of interest between the legislative branch and a "free-standing" branch of citizens that constitutes the review commission. (Yes, even former elected officials become citizens.)
It also opens a window for taxpayer-paid facilities to subsidize campaigning. To follow his logic, perhaps the county executive, auditor, assessor and their staff should have filed to exert their official influence on reviewing the charter to their liking as well.
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I was around in 1980 when the charter was born out of scandals of corruption with sheriff’'s office and county government. Here again, it's spun off its axis, as the council member with the most elliptical orbit apparently doesn’t recognize the conflict of interest created in feathering his own nest.
If withdrawing their candidacy doesn’t happen, and voters don’t toss them out first, the review commissioners would be wise to introduce an article prohibiting sitting county officers from serving on the commission. We've already had the history of the “fox watching the hen house.”