Laurelhurst Community Club                                                     

Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

                                                                            

April 21, 2008

Councilmember Sally Clark, Chair

Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee and

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Committee Member

600 Fourth Avenue

P.O. Box 43025

Seattle, Washington  98124-4025

 

RE:      Amendment to Resolution 31002 and Memorandum of Agreement with Children’s re Filling Vacancies on the Children’s Citizens Advisory Committee

 

Dear Councilmembers Clark and Rasmussen:

 

            Thank you for your interest in maintaining the balance of interest on the Children’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) approved by the Council in July 2007.  As we said we would when we discussed the issues on Saturday, we have proposed draft language to amend Resolution 31002 and the Memorandum of Agreement with Children’s, which is incorporated into the resolution.

 

            We have proposed two alternatives that could be inserted into the Memorandum of Agreement where there is reference to filling vacancies.  The current Memorandum does not address the situation where filling vacancies would alter the balance of interests on the CAC.  Alternative 1 would not require DON to return to the council to confirm new CAC members and alternates, but instead would clarify the inconsistency of what should happen when appointing from the existing alternates would alter the balance of interests.  To ensure accountability, the Council would approve the process for designating new CAC members and alternates.  The language states: 

 

If filling vacancies from the list of alternates approved by the City Council results in substantially altering the balance of interests, expertise, and experiences represented on the Advisory Committee, then the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods shall appoint voting members and alternates to maintain the balance on the committee using a process approved by the City Council. 

 

            Under this alternative, Council approval of the process for designating new CAC members and alternates is important to ensure fairness.  In her memorandum of April 8, the DON Director has proposed that DON staff meet with the CAC chair, a Bryant resident who has been hostile to LCC, and representatives from the hospital to develop the process.  First, the Major Institutions Code provides no role for the CAC in matters relating to CAC formation or the filling of vacancies—CAC members have enough to do in advising on the master plan and environmental impact statement.  Second, it makes no sense for the CAC chair to operate independently of the CAC with no accountability.  Third, the role of the institution in CAC formation as outlined in the Major Institutions Code is limited to developing a list of potential nominees to serve on the CAC.  During the approval process for Resolution 31002, the Council adopted an amendment eliminating joint action by DON and the institution in filling vacancies.  The DON should not now be allowed to change what the Council has previously rejected.

 

            To ensure fairness to the Laurelhurst community—the primary stakeholder in the process—Council approval of the process is important.  There was already an extensive process soliciting membership nominations to serve on the Committee.  Many of those not selected to serve on the CAC attended the public meetings sponsored by Children’s and continue to attend the CAC meetings.  Some of those didn’t apply initially, but have a demonstrated interested based on attendance at meetings.  The CAC is now nearly ten months into the master planning process.  It makes sense to consider near-Laurelhurst neighbors who have participated in the process.  Time is short and it makes no sense to undertake a lengthy interview process, which is not required by the Major Institutions Code.  Information about potential candidates can be provided and DON can make follow up phone calls.  LCC has provided its recommendations and information about each candidate in terms of the qualifications sought under the Code; Children’s can do the same and others can contact DON if they are interested.

 

            Alternative 2 would require Council confirmation of new CAC members and alternates.  It also corrects the inconsistency in the current language of the Memorandum of Agreement where selecting from the list of alternates would alter the balance of interests on the CAC.  This language, which could be inserted in the Memorandum in the section about filling vacancies, states:

 

If filling vacancies from the list of alternates approved by the City Council results in substantially altering the balance of interests, expertise, and experiences represented on the Advisory Committee, then the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods shall recommend to the Council individuals appropriate to maintain the balance of interests. 

 

The Council may confirm the additional nominees recommended by the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods, make changes, or remand the matter to the Director of the Department of Neighborhoods for further action.  After confirmation of additional members of the Advisory Committee and alternates, the Council shall amend the memorandum of agreement with the institution. 

 

            As we have stated, Council action is important to address the inconsistency in the Resolution and Memorandum of Agreement because the DON Director cannot maintain the current “balance of interests” while appointing from the current alternates.   In adopting Resolution 31002, the Council designated a majority of the CAC from Laurelhurst (nine out of 15).  Without one of the proposed amendments, the balance on the committee will be reversed.  We hope you will offer one of the amendments we have proposed to address the issue.  Please let us know if you have questions. 

 

Sincerely,

                                               

Jeannie Hale, President                                               Colleen McAleer, LCC Trustee

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE                               3137 W Laurelhurst Drive NE

Seattle, Washington  98105                                        Seattle, Washington  98105

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631                              206-525-0219

jeannieh@serv.net                                                       billandlin@aol.com