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Charter changes clear challenge

Bremerton voters said yes changes to the city charter by the slimmest of margins Tuesday with 4,149 votes for the changes and 3,972 against the changes election results indicated as of Wednesday.

Among the changes voters approved were reducing the size of the civil service commission from five to three, eliminating the City Council’s requirement to meet weekly, and allowing the City attorney to perform pro bono work.

“I’m proud of our citizens for having the courage to approve these changes,” said Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman.

The changes give improve efficiency within the city government and allow more flexibility in the way the city conducts its business, Bozeman said.

“We have to review our operating procedures every so often and find ways to do things more efficiently,” he said. “It’s just good management.”

Too often governments get tied down with regulations that are inefficient and don’t change them, he said.

“We will continue to review our charter and look at how to improve it, he said. “If there’s a better way to do it, we’re going to do it.”

However, former Bremerton City Councilman Ed Rollman said the changes limit public input in the city’s decision-making process.

“We’ve created a one or two meeting a month Council and done away with the second readings of ordinances,” Rollman said.

In the past, issues raised at Council meetings have received the bulk of public comment at second readings, he said.

“This limits pubic input and now a lot of those voices won’t be heard,” he said.

Rollman said a lack public education on the issues contributed to the approval of the changes.

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