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Just say ‘no’ to Arlene Buetow | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
We are former members of the city’s Utility Advisory Committee (UAC). Dan was an original UAC appointee and served with Arlene Buetow for approximately three years, the last six months of which he was the UAC chairman. Randall served on the UAC with Arlene for almost two years and Bob for one year.
The UAC’s mission, as provided by city ordinance, is to advise the council on utility matters. Despite its non-partisan and advisory status, Arlene came to the UAC with a single agenda — divestiture of the city’s water utility. She was vocal and outspoken in pursuing this agenda.
During Arlene’s time on the UAC, she was consistently divisive and non-collaborative. She worked behind the scenes to undermine committee members with whom she disagreed and, when her position was in the minority, she refused to accept the decision of the majority (all non-partisan professionals with engineering, financial, legal or management utility experience).
Despite UAC policy that endorses adherence to the principles of open and transparent government, Arlene routinely communicated about city utility matters privately with council members who shared her agenda on their personal email addresses.
Arlene also was disrespectful in UAC meetings to senior city staff (city manager, finance director and public works director) who commonly worked to support the UAC. She openly challenged their work and integrity and communicated behind the scenes with council members who shared her agenda to have these staff members marginalized.
From the time the UAC was created until Arlene became the chairwoman in 2012, the UAC complied with the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act, meetings were open to the public, public input was encouraged, and minutes were kept and filed with the city.
After Arlene became the chairwoman and in violation of city ordinance, the UAC stopped keeping minutes and she openly advocated that the UAC need not comply with the Open Public Meetings Act. Under Arlene’s leadership, the relationship between the UAC and city staff has deteriorated.
We need people on council who will collaborate to solve problems. Based upon Arlene’s history, we say to the citizens of Bainbridge Island: Just say “No” to Arlene Buetow. We are voting for Wayne Roth.
DANIEL P. MALLOVE, RANDAL SAMSTAG AND ROBERT BOSSERMAN