Committee begins work on epidemic recovery plan

ICC made up of representatives from Jefferson County

PORT TOWNSEND — Members of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee gathered in their first joint meeting Thursday to identify their exact roles as well as how to work as liaisons to six community groups.

The purpose of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee (ICC) is to facilitate the creation of community task forces to develop resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is made up of representatives from Jefferson County, the City of Port Townsend, public utility district and Port of Port Townsend.

“The purpose of today’s meeting is to facilitate the creation of the task forces and work effectively with the task forces,” said Kate Dean, Jefferson County District 1 commissioner and chair of the ICC.

She said work is to be done “always with the view of this not being a government-led effort but rather a community-led effort, that we lend the strength of government behind it.”

County Administrator Philip Morley said the group will vet and solidify plans to be presented to the larger Intergovernmental Collaborative Group.

“The group of us in the ICC are really a crucible for vetting the good ideas that come up through the community,” Morley said. “Ultimately what this group consolidates into its own recommended plan to the larger elected bodies of 16 is really the product we hope we will be incorporating much of the work and the energy of the community groups. But ultimately the recommendations that you forward on are ours as an ICC.”

The ICC identified six areas that have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus that need immediate attention with regard to the recovery and resiliency plan: culture and events, economy and jobs, children and families, human services, food stability and broadband.

Members of the ICC have volunteered to act as liaisons to the community within those areas.

Dean has volunteered to be a liaison for families and children and is the interim liaison for culture and events.

Dean will work with Port Townsend Mayor Michelle Sandoval on identifying another City Council member to be the culture and events liaison, which will help the other members of smaller government bodies avoid a quorum.

Deputy Mayor David Faber was originally part of the ICC but asked to swap out of the position to allow for better gender representation on the ICC.

“Immediately after I was appointed, it became very clear to me that the gender balance is pretty significantly out of whack on this board, so there has been some discussion about me swapping out for one of my colleagues,” Faber said.

Ultimately, the remaining members of the ICC became liaisons to their chosen categories.

PUD Commissioner Jeff Randall has volunteered to be the economy and jobs liaison, City Council member Ariel Speser will be the human services liaison, City Manager John Mauro has volunteered to be the food system resiliency liaison, and PUD General Manager Kevin Streett will be the broadband liaison.

Also on the ICC are Port Executive Director Eron Berg and Port Commissioner Pete Hanke.

In their roles as liaisons, the ICC members will work closely to identify groups within their respective sectors to assess what will be necessary for them to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus and what will need to be done should a second wave occur.

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Ken Park can be reached at [email protected].

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