City Council thinks about a shrink

At least two Bremerton City Council members are interested in pursuing the idea of reducing the Council’s size from nine to seven as Council members began their initial discussion on the subject at a Tuesday night study session in the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St.

“I think seven would be more efficient than nine on the Council,” said Councilman Will Maupin, one of the leaders of the discussion. “I think we need to find something that would help the city and be a better form of government.”

Councilman Mike Short, said while he supports the idea of a smaller Council, he wants a survey done to gauge public opinion on the subject.

“We’re not proposing to do anything,” Short said. “What we’re advocating is doing a citizen survey.”

If citizens support the idea, then the Council would take the next step toward preparing it for a possible vote in about two years, Short said.

Council President Daren Nygren said the cost of a survey to gauge public opinion on the issue would be about $5,000.

“I th ink seven is a good number but in mind, I think it is a question that needs to but to citizens,” Nygren said.

However, several Council members expressed concern about the idea of reducing the number of Council members.

“I think we’re the best bargain for city government anywhere,” said Councilman Brad Gehring. “Right now it works, so if ain’t broke, don’t tamper with it.”

The Council’s current members work well together and don’t have any trouble making decisions, Gehring said.

Councilman Mike Shepherd said this isn’t the first time a Council has entertained the idea of reducing the number of Council members.

“There was always the concern that as you reduced the size of the Council, you would increase the workload for Council members,” he said.

The increased workload could have limited working people’s ability to be on the Council, he said.

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