Clallam commissioner mulls charter change to put elected officials under personnel policy

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach is looking to change the county’s home rule charter to make elected officials fall under the county’s personnel policy.

“If you read this thing carefully, what you find is elected officials are exempt,” he said during the Board of County Commissioners work session Monday morning. “I believe that I should not be exempt; I should have the same requirements as any other county employee.”

The charter says the personnel system is designed to assure that “recruitment, selection, promotion, retention and separation of county employees shall be based on merit and fitness and shall provide for a county career service.”

Elected county officers, such as county commissioners, are exempt under the county’s charter.

Peach, whose seat on the board is up for election during the November general election, said the reason elected officials are exempt from the policy is due to the hiring and firing mechanisms in the policy, which don’t apply to elected officials.

“What we end up with is a situation that is just amazing to me, and I think it’s just an oversight,” he said. “That situation is that I, as an elected official, am not bound by the county’s personnel polices.”

Peach said he cannot think of a reason why he would want to be exempt from the personnel policy.

Changing the county charter to hold elected officials to the same policies as county employees would require a vote of the people during a November general election, he said.

County Administrator Jim Jones said the “unfortunate wording” would require a simple change to only exempt elected officials from the hiring and firing provisions of the county’s policy.

He said the deadline to get a measure on the November ballot would be in early August.

Peach said the county has done a good job in being transparent and that he wanted to be transparent to people who are considering running for office.

“They should know that we’re thinking about making this change,” he said.

Commissioner Mark Ozias suggested the commissioners discuss the measure during a future work session and invite other elected officials to the conversation.

Commissioner Randy Johnson did not attend the work session Monday.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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