Voters have taken an important first step toward reforming Thurston County government by sending a fresh new face to the Board of Commissioners, providing much needed change from the lock-step, think-alike methods employed by the current regime.
The next step for voters likely will be a decision on whether to elect freeholders to draft a home rule charter, which could provide structural change to go along with the philosophical/ideological relief already granted.
Six words of advice to potential freeholders: Keep it simple and don’t overreach. Previous charter attempts failed because drafters allowed vested interests and personal ambitions to trump common sense, offering voters complicated and overly-ambitious proposals they could easily reject.
From my view, a change from a three-person board to a five-member council guaranteeing representation from all geographical areas of Thurston County makes good sense. Anything beyond that requires careful scrutiny. The more complex and far-reaching the proposal, the less likelihood it will gain political support and voter approval.
I will observe the forthcoming process closely and skeptically. I urge others to do the same.