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City scrutinizes application process for boards, commissions

Federal Way staff have been reviewing the application process for the city's various volunteer boards and commissions, following some issues regarding the North Lake Management District Advisory Board and an applicant who was approved but later rescinded.

"Council had asked to look at the application process for the commissions and boards," said city attorney Pat Richardson during the July 9 Parks, Recreation, Human Services and Public Safety Commission Meeting.

In comparing application requirements, the only city that requires a criminal background check is SeaTac, Richardson said.

The original issue arose last month when the council unanimously approved the appointment of Greg Summers, an embattled chiropractor facing sexual misconduct charges in relation to his chiropractic practice.

Outside of that, a special city council meeting also found that other members of the North Lake Management District Advisory Board had attempted to submit information regarding Summers' apparent disregard for North Lake, which ultimately led to the council rescinding Summers' commission appointment.

Commission and Councilmembers Jeanne Burbidge and Kelly Maloney asked Richardson if there was some way in which, at least in the context of the North Lake Management District Advisory Board, that advisory board members and other property owners could be notified of vacancies and take part in the application process.

Richardson deferred to Parks and Public Works Director Cary Roe, who said something like that already happens.

"We communicate both the vacancy, as well as who has applied, and make sure they know there's an opportunity. Here's where the interviews occur, it's a public meeting so they can participate," Roe said. "We're (city staff) at the meetings in both cases anyway. I don't think it's a burden on my staff."

"I think that would be a good enhancement to the process," Burbidge said.

Board chair and Councilmember Susan Honda asked if it would be possible to standardize the applications, because many of them have different wordings for their requirements.

One board, Honda noted, actually had no discernible requirements. According to the city, the three-member Board of Ethics issues advisory opinions on sections of the adopted Code of Ethics and investigates and reports on specific complaints lodged against any elected city official.

"The Board of Ethics, there's no membership requirements?" Honda asked Richardson.

"Not in the resolution, no," Richardson replied.

"They're not required to be a resident?" Burbidge reiterated.

"I have to tell you…when (the city clerk) put this together, it was like…really?" Richardson replied, a bit of disbelief tinging her voice.

"That's more shocking to me than what happened before," Honda said.

No action was taken at the July 9 meeting. Richardson was directed to pull all the requirement language together and see how it could be possibly standardized, and to also have a recommendation on how to fix the Ethics Board's lack of requirements and report back to the commission in September.

 

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