Opinion

Everything Bremerton: Community values document

A new type of revitalization has been building in Bremerton. It is a growing revitalization of citizen knowledge and involvement in the government and with the leadership that serves this city.  Well known involved citizens have begun working together toward a common goal.

Economically the City of Bremerton is in a place where the simple participation by its citizens of just voting on leadership and providing the occasional comment at meetings is not enough of a contribution towards what is desperately needed to keeping in place the checks and balances of government by the people.

Very loose, somewhat confusing, short term, unsustainable corrections to the city budget were put into place this past week.

While many of these corrections would not have occurred without significant citizen pressure and presence, every single group of involved stakeholders can and will need to do much better than status quo going forward with the 2012 budget.  Unlike other local public entities, the City of Bremerton does not embrace or convey any sort of formal citizen finance committee and does appear to have the supporting policy, budget or staff resources to create one.

In light of this critical deficiency and as an involved group of citizens, we propose the independent creation and submission of a community values document.

A community values document is a small-group, citizen driven, collectively constructed and mutually agreed upon document that outlines a specific view of the general overall expectations of government and leadership.

Along with the general document, there will be detailed attachments with specific language as to the expectations on public services, safety, revenues, taxes, operations, collective bargaining, staffing, budget and short and long term corrective goals.

Once it is completed, this document will be distributed to every single stakeholder group involved with the city. That includes the administration, the mayor, the city council, all city departments, union representation and most importantly to be reviewed by the entire community.

As citizens we have jobs, lives and families. We cannot all be present at every single department meeting, study session or general meeting. However, this document can be there always.

Included in the language of the document is the directive that the community values document becomes the citizen’s seat at the city government table.

It should be viewed and used as a constant reference tool reminder of what citizens expect, want and will be watching for.

In the coming weeks, construction of the document outline will begin.

If anyone has ideas or suggestions or simply wishes to be included in this process, please eamil the group at bremertonvaluedoc@gmail.com.

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