Letters to the Editor

UAC encourages openness, transparency | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

          - Bainbridge Island Review photo
— image credit: Bainbridge Island Review photo

To the editor:

I would like to respond to the Bainbridge Island Review’s Sept. 20, 2013 article concerning the Utility Advisory Committee. For your information all meetings of the committee have been open to the public since our committee’s inception in 2009.

We did have discussion about the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act as they apply to our committee at our Sept. 9 general meeting. The reason for that discussion was for members to voice their questions about the revised interpretation by the interim city attorney. He stated that these rules applied to our purely advisory committee. The committee was previously advised by the city’s former attorney that Open Public Meetings Act did not apply to the UAC and received no advice on the Public Records Act. We discussed the importance to us to be informed of all guidelines we are to follow going forward.

When the interim city attorney announced the revised interpretation of the rules at the July 24 council meeting, he did so with a promise to provide a briefing on how committees and commissions are to comply with these rules and guidelines.

This briefing is no different from that provided to all new council members when they first join the council. That briefing was included on the city council’s agenda for Aug. 28, but we were later informed by the city manager that “Due to the lawsuit filed last week, the presentation has been pulled from the agenda.”

The Utility Advisory Committee analyzes utility issues and policy,

and provides advice to our city and city council. The UAC is comprised of a number of highly trained professionals who offer their time and expertise in aid of the greater community. I for one can state that we encourage openness and transparency in our deliberations, and the public has always been and continues to be welcome to participate.

ARLENE BUETOW

UAC Chairwoman

Bainbridge Island

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