Consent publicly | Editorial
September 13, 2012 · Updated 11:09 AM
The decision by the Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners to approve a backdated contract with workers at the Kitsap County Corrections and Detention Center under the consent agenda during Monday’s regular business meeting was inappropriate and gives a poor appearance and lacks transparency as the next troubled budget year approaches and the election nears.
The consent agenda is a place to group routine actions such as routine bill paying, lesser money shuffling and appointments to lesser boards and committees. It’s place to bundle items the board feels do not require public comment on their part before a single vote approves multiple actions.
While the set-up action to pass the agreement without board comment was indeed legal, the use of the consent agenda as such further illustrates the BOCC’s desire to spend less time explaining themselves and their actions to the public in a public setting. While it is true that there were few members of the general public in attendance Monday to hear the BOCC explain, had they done so, why commissioners voted yes without previously making public the full costs of the contract, there is no way to know how many were at home watching on cable also without explanation.
Using the consent agenda in the manner as done by the BOCC Monday does not automatically cry out foul play nor does it indicate nefarious motives. On the other hand, it joins past attempts to ease the BOCCs workload and better maintain bankers hours. With two seats up for election in November, those members wasted a chance to explain their leadership in the contract process to voters.
We believe that the tax payers of Kitsap County deserve to hear an official for-the-record public comment from members of the BOCC when they legally commit the county to increase expenses by $162,000 following labor negotiations with employees.