John Ladenburg sworn in as Pierce County Executive

“After a successful campaign, John Ladenburg was elected Pierce County Executive. Below are excerpts from his speech after being sworn in Wednesday evening by Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander at the Sheraton Tacoma Hotel: There are many pressing issues before the county. Some, however, need our immediate attention. Therefore, we will act to move them to the forefront of government action.First, I intend to call for a Transportation Summit in Pierce County. I will ask that all the governments come together during one week to help develop a coordinated transportation plan for our county. This meeting would include the elected officials and other policy makers to formulate joint policy. It would also include the transportation staff from each government to discuss how to integrate their planning and insure an orderly process of construction. It would include the regional transportation officials from Sound Transit and Pierce Transit to help us make sure our local plans are not abrogated by regional plans. Pierce County will act as the convener of this summit, not the owner of the summit. We will simply call the meeting and help it take place; we will not try to dictate to anyone.Second, I intend to call for a Parks and Recreation Summit in Pierce County. Recently we have experienced how our in-fighting has prevented moving forward on this important area. Yet, the citizens have given us a tremendous boost with the passage of the recent countywide levy. We cannot and must not retreat from this challenge. We need to bring our policy makers and our parks and recreation planning people together to make a master plan for this entire county. Citizens have given us the tools, and we need to pick them up and make a better recreation plan for the whole county. We need to make sure that each city knows the plans of each other and the plans of the county and state. We need to take that knowledge into account as we modify our plans. Of course, we have a head start with the formation of the Forward Together group, and we will work closely with them in this effort.I intend to make some management structure changes within the Office of the Executive. We will no longer have the four positions of executive directors to which all department heads have reported. This layer of management, which filtered information to the executive, will be eliminated. The budget cost of those positions in 2001 was expected to be $508,000. Twelve department directors will now form a new management team that will meet regularly and each will have direct access to the Office of the Executive. The County Council has the authority under our charter to appoint the executive pro-tem. In the past the designation of an executive staff member as the deputy executive has led to confusion and usurped some of the council’s authority. That position is eliminated. In its place, I have designated an executive chief of staff. That position I have entrusted to a good friend, Lyle Quasim. We are indeed lucky to have someone of his experience and talent willing to work with us.Another announcement I wish to make is that I am appointing Paul Pastor to be Pierce County sheriff, effective immediately.Finally, I want to thank the voters of this county for the incredible honor of serving as your Executive. I will give it my best. “