Sometimes I get questions and comments from residents on the columns I write. Under the assumption that others might have the same question, I will occasionally share my answers.
Q. How would you have voted on the safe injection site resolution?
A. There was actually no need for a vote. I would have submitted a press release to the Mirror stating what the director of the health department said. Federal Way was not under consideration.
However, addiction and drug overdose is a very serious issue and a public information meeting on the topic was in order. Knowledgeable representatives of both sides of the question should have made a presentation and then answered questions.
What our citizens got was one sided and used for political gain rather than the deeper factual discussion that was needed.
Q. What did you think of Mayor Jim Ferrell’s adviser Yarden Weidenfeld’s response to your critique of the mayor’s lack of vision on economic development?
A. There was only two reasons for Mr. Weidenfeld, whose background is as a county prosecutor, not economic development, to write the response rather than Tim Johnson, Ferrell’s economic development director. Either the mayor has lost complete confidence in Johnson or Johnson told the mayor it was a bad idea. Probably the latter.
Q.Why are you blaming Mayor Ferrell for the council’s action refinancing the Performing Arts and Event Center?
A. Ferrell recommended it, and I found fault with both sides for putting themselves, and the taxpayers, in this unnecessary financial position. Prudent decision-making rather than myopic determination over the last five years could have avoided the current situation.
The PAEC is a beautiful facility and we have to hope it is successful over time. In the short term, it is still several million dollars short and is a fiscal problem for the city. As an example: Where are all the new police officers the city said it needed? A bad plan from the start with too much wishful thinking and too few people willing to ask the difficult questions.
Q. What do you think of all the moratoriums?
A. They waste time and money when the real problem is a comprehensive plan in need of significant updating to reflect current needs, economics and direction.
Q.Why do you keep saying we need a city administrator? Isn’t that what the elected mayor is supposed to do?
A. In theory, but we have had three mayoral elections and several candidates for mayor since the change in form of government. None had the five to 10 years of senior level government management experience needed. An experienced city manager would have been very helpful in avoiding some of the unforced errors that have occurred through inexperience and political decision-making. Management in the public sector is challenging and difficult. Unless a mayor has the experience, they should get the help of a professional for daily operations.
Keep reading and asking questions.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former Auburn mayor and retired public official. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.