Clallam commissioners consider minor changes to finance department resolution

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners will consider making minor changes to the resolutions they approved last week concerning the proposed finance department.

Today, commissioners will consider repealing and replacing the resolution calling for an election to change Clallam County’s charter, repealing and replacing the explanatory statement of the measure and repealing and replacing the “for” and “against” appointment form that was approved July 31.

“To make it clear … we had a public hearing last week on the proposed language that will amend the county charter to create an office of finance,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said during the Monday work session. “Subsequent to the public hearing, we contemplated making some changes to several aspects. That’s what we’re talking about today.”

The meeting is set for 10 a.m. today at the Clallam County Courthouse.

The commissioners unanimously approved putting the proposal on the ballot last week after a public hearing, but at the time did not respond to concerns they heard from the public.

If approved, the changes would include adding one sentence to the explanatory statement, the addition of one person to the “against” committee and a language change to the resolution authorizing the ballot measure.

The added explanatory sentence would read, “The principal effect of this change is to redirect lines of reporting within the County’s financial management with no change in employment levels.”

Patty Rosand would join Bryan Frazier on the “against” committee and a third person could be appointed by the Clallam County Auditor’s Office at any time.

Commissioner Randy Johnson, Auditor’s Chief Accountant Stan Creasey and former Peninsula Daily News Publisher John Brewer were selected for the “for” committee last week.

Another change would be to the resolution that puts the measure on the ballot. Language that said the new department would “streamline the county’s finances” so they can be managed in a more efficient way would be changed to say the new department would “improve the county’s financial information system” so it can be managed in a more efficient way.

During the hearing last week, commissioners heard from multiple people who felt the county was rushing to create a new finance department.

The measure, which county officials have said would streamline the county’s finances as it looks at removing financial responsibilities from the county administrator position, requires a change to the county charter.

If approved by voters in November, the charter change would create a new Department of Finance, headed by a chief financial officer appointed by the county commissioners.

“I understand that some in the public have concerns that this appears to be rushed or that perhaps it has been hidden from view in some way,” Ozias said. “The reality is, from my perspective, the type of issue this is, an internal operations issue, this has rightly been discussed through the commissioners’ office and finance committee and through a series of public conversations.”

Ozias said he considers this the beginning of the process and said there is still more time to educate the public about the measure before the November general election.

“What we’re doing here s to put something on the ballot,” he said. “We’re just at the beginning stages of that.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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