Letters to the Editor

Dovey right for City Council

On Jan. 13, I sat through eight hours of interviews by the City Council with 24 of the 27 applicants for the open position. Two could not make the meeting and one withdrew. I continued with the marathon for another three and a half hours on Jan. 16 for the interviews with finalists and council deliberations.

I was amazed at how ill-prepared at least half of the applicants were for this complex and demanding job. They knew little or nothing about city activities. They were unaware of council commitments and responsibilities. They had meager, or non-existent, relevant experience as volunteers or in an appointed city position. And few of them had any vision about what they wanted to do or accomplish if they were appointed.

All this shows a lack of community participation in the civic fabric of Federal Way. Watching the council twice a month on television is a start in self-education. Attending the council meetings in person is better, because you can see the total room and all the council members and staff, rather than just see what the camera operator selects. You also get a stronger sense of the interaction among council members and the audience.

Being on the city’s boards, commissions or committees gives further insight into the interlocking and often competing functions of how the city operates. A solid grounding in local government is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to be an effective council member.

I have had the pleasure of working with four of the six finalists on city commissions, local projects and the community council. They all showed complete dedication, imagination and determination throughout the tenure of each activity.

In the end, the choice was made on qualifications, the politics of the moment and gut instinct for working as a team. You, as an individual, can only control the qualifications. So it is necessary to be involved in our community. There’s no way to manage the political aspects. You just do what you can. As for the gut instinct, that’s the intangible, unknown aspect that makes decisions like this one highly charged and extremely difficult.

I look forward to seeing Jack Dovey make positive contributions toward the success of the council.

H. David Kaplan

Federal Way

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