Open letter to the county council

by Sharon Abreu, David Anderson, Janet Brownell, David Dehlendorf, Patty Garcia, Liz Lafferty, Robert O’Connell, Olivia Roseberry, Kevin Ranker and Maureen See.

We, the Undersigned, are writing to ask about two things: 1) the update to the Home Rule Charter implementing the amendments successfully passed by voters in 2021; and 2) the status of the eight Recommendations that were sent to you with the final Proposed Charter Amendments in December 2021.

Regarding the Recommendations, Prosecuting Attorney Gaylord advised that the Recommendations would be reviewed by you within six months, that is, between June and July 2022. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, the Recommendations have not been discussed by you in a public meeting.

As to the three amendments that were passed by voters in November 2021, it appears the Home Rule Charter on the County website does not reflect these changes. These important updates to the Charter should have been made immediately or at least no later than December 31, 2021. Is there a reason why the Home Rule Charter, SJC’s constitution, is not located on the home page of the County website? It takes some digging to find it.

Even more importantly, the San Juan County government will need to create policies and/or ordinances to actually implement the three new amendments to the Home Rule Charter. To our knowledge, citizens are waiting for County Council to provide time for public discussion and action on the amendments. It would serve the Council well to inform the public as to its actions on the voter approved changes to the Charter. We would also respectfully request that the County website reflect these voter-approved changes and the actions the Council is taking to implement them.

Given the recent decision by Superior Court Judge Skinner, we believe the citizens of San Juan County are interested in the full work product of the Charter Review Commission. Many of the ideas in the eight Recommendations were proposed by voters to the CRC. As such, we urge you to place the eight Recommendations on your agenda as soon as possible. Openness and transparency in local government are crucial to operating a good and just government.

We would appreciate it if you would let us know when we can expect this discussion to occur. Thank you for your attention to these matters.

Editor’s note: The above letter was submitted to the San Juan County Council, county manager and prosecuting attorney.