PORT ANGELES — Clallam County is cutting ties with ICLEI — the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
Since 2007, the county has spent $1,200 per year on membership dues to the association of more than 1,000 local governments that is “committed to sustainable development,” according to www.iclei.org.
With the membership, the county receives reading materials from ICLEI that show what other cities and counties are doing to reduce energy consumption and help the environment.
Its critics said it violates the Constitution, threatens individual liberty and promotes the United Nations Agenda 21, a global action plan for sustainability.
The county’s membership with ICLEI is set to expire at the end of December.
Sequim City Manager Steve Burkett has said the city’s membership with ICLEI expired in September and will not be renewed.
Port Townsend is the only other North Olympic Peninsula jurisdiction with an ICLEI membership.
To let membership lapse
County Administrator Jim Jones on Thursday said he was directed by commissioners to let the county’s membership lapse.
ICLEI became a hot topic this summer when a vocal group of citizens took commissioners to task for the membership in meetings held Aug. 30 and Sept. 27.
“If ICLEI’s not going to send blue protective helmets, I am not interested,” Commissioner Steve Tharinger said in a recorded Oct. 7 budget meeting. “Although, I am not going to be here next year.”
Tharinger is not seeking a fourth term on the county commission to focus his attention on his duties as a state representative for the 24th District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula.
“Doesn’t break my heart to get rid of it,” Commissioner Mike Doherty said. “Personally, I would vote to keep it.”
Doherty last summer said he appreciates getting information from all sides of public issues.
In the budget meeting Oct. 7, Doherty said he would continue to peruse ICLEI materials on his own time, adding he isn’t opposed to letting the membership expire to alleviate the distraction.
Commissioner Mike Chapman said he never read the ICLEI newsletter in the first place.
One of ICLEI’s local critics, Clallam County GOP Chairman Dick Pilling, presented commissioners with a resolution from the party in August that called on the county to cut ties with ICLEI.
“I’m delighted,” Pilling said Thursday.
“I think it was certainly a needless expense,” he said.
“I guess I would have liked them to reject it on the basis of philosophy rather than a budget action, but to have it removed is a good thing for whatever reason.”
________Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at [email protected]