Tacoma City Council OKs Foss Waterway Development Authority appointments, charter review process

Tacoma City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday that appoints four people to serve as members of the Foss Waterway Development Authority.

William Driscoll and John “Jay” Jetter will serve terms that expire on Dec. 31, 2014. Michael Miller will be re-appointed to serve a two-year term beginning on Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2015. Finally, Gary Pedersen will be re-appointed to serve a three-year term that will expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

“I think it’s important that we get some highly qualified people,” said Tacoma City Councilmember and Deputy Mayor Marty Campbell. “We were very lucky in that we had about 10 applicants that were all very highly qualified. It was very hard to choose from. We actually had to have two meetings to get in all the interviews and have the depth of discussion.”

Indeed, Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee, on which Campbell serves as chair, conducted interviews on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, before recommendations were forwarded to the full council earlier this month.

“We feel that they will do an excellent job representing some very important developments that we’re having coming throughout the City of Tacoma,” added Campbell.

In total, eight candidates (Victoria Cantore, Driscoll, David Graybill, Phillip Hill, Jetter, Miller, Pedersen, and Stan Sidor) applied for the positions.

Additionally, Tacoma City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday that begins the process of creating a 15-member voluntary committee to review the city’s charter. The committee will be tasked with making recommendations for changes to the charter and submitting those recommendations to Tacoma City Council by Tues., May 6, 2014. Councilmembers were briefed on the plan during a study session in August.

“Individuals appointed to this committee should be prepared to commit a lot of time and be willing to work very hard,” said Tacoma City Clerk Doris Sorum. “For example, in 2004, the full committee held 18 meetings. The subcommittees met an additional 37 times, for a total of 55 meetings. The committee also held two public hearings and heard 32 presentations. The charter review committee meetings were held in the evenings, while some of the subcommittees held meetings in the morning and in the evening. The members made themselves available to meet with each neighborhood council and other city and labor organizations.”

The City of Tacoma is accepting applications until Weds., Dec. 4, to serve on the committee. The mayor and each city councilmember will also recommend one person each to serve on the committee. On Dec. 18, Tacoma City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee will interview the candidates and make recommendations to the full council. Tacoma City Council is expected to make final charter review committee appointments on Tues., Jan. 7, 2014.

According to City of Tacoma staff, the existing city charter was adopted in 1953 and comprehensive reviews must be conducted at least once every 10 years. Tacoma voters approve or reject any recommended changes to the city’s charter. The charter was last reviewed in 2004. At that time, the committee recommended 23 charter changes, councilmembers winnowed that list down to 11 proposed changes, and voters approved all the changes.

More information about serving on the charter commission is available online at cityoftacoma.org/cbc.


Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.