Commissioners of Jefferson, Clallam counties to meet in joint session

PORT TOWNSEND -Commissioners of Jefferson and Clallam counties plan to discuss common issues at a meeting tentatively scheduled for Sept. 24.

No one seems to know just how long it’s been since the two boards of elected commissioners last met.

Some of the discussion items proposed include Puget Sound Partnership and watershed issues, Jefferson County’s proposed clean water district on Discovery Bay – part of which is in Clallam County – and a proposed expansion of Security Services Northwest and how it could affect Clallam County residents.

Allen Sartin, Jefferson County director of central services – who is standing in for vacationing County Administrator John Fischbach – said the meeting will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.

Steve Tharinger, chairman of Clallam County commissioners, said they have requested topics from department heads for the joint meeting.

“We’ve got a fairly long list now that has to be pared down,” Tharinger, D-Dungeness, said Tuesday.

Clallam County may bring to the table joint tourism marketing, law enforcement issues and an early learning initiative  among Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties, he said.

Tharinger said commissioners would work toward setting an agenda early next week.

As for Jefferson County, other issues include:


  • A mental health sales tax activities and grants from the state for combating methamphetamine abuse in the two counties.

  • Proposed changes in Security Services Northwest’s shooting ranges and potential Clallam County impact.

  • Affordable housing.

  • Olympic Discovery Trail cross-assistance in grants and trail activity.

  • Peninsula Development Association’s regional approach to economic development.

  • How the two counties can work together to build their economies.

    Other issues that may be discussed include the Sequim elk herd, the drug task force, Early Childhood Learning, West End Public Health Clinic, and well inspection and decommissioning.

    While the idea is to tackle the most important issues seen by both elected county boards, Sartin explained that the ambitious initial list of discussion items from Jefferson County commissioners is necessary to abide by the state’s open meetings law.

    “Based on special meetings law, we want to have a detailed agenda,” Sartin said, adding that if an item is not listed, the commissioners cannot discuss it.

    “They may just get through a third of the items,” he said.

    The commissioners decided to meet after some from Jefferson County ran into some from Clallam County at various regional gatherings and events, according to Sartin.

    “I think they just decided to meet and get to know each other and see if they could discuss any issues,” he said.

    Fischbach will be back from vacation for the meeting, and all commissioners from both counties are expected to attend – John Austin, Phil Johnson and David Sullivan from Jefferson County, and Mike Chapman, Mike Doherty and Tharinger from Clallam County.

    Of the six, five are Democrats, with Chapman the lone Republican.

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