Letters to the Editor

Putting a face on city’s layoffs is important | Letters | Feb. 27

While the debate about the city’s budget cuts continues, I would like to put a human face on the fallout from the first round of personnel layoffs.

I serve as the current chair of the Housing Trust Fund’s Executive Committee, staffed by Brent Butler, the city’s senior planner. He guided us through difficult and complicated policy with his breadth of knowledge. Working with him gave me confidence and some pride in the decisions we made to support affordable housing.

Brent was voted Employee of the Year and whenever I read letters by disgruntled citizens about the city’s services, I think – if only they knew Brent Butler.

Due to what I understand is compliance with labor-hiring rules, we have to say goodbye to Brent on Feb. 27. Citizens who unknowingly benefited from his expertise, city staff, and the council will all be affected. I have been a union member in times past, and believe that they have a role to play in our democracy, yet I find it crazy-making to lose the senior planner.

There are others I don’t know and haven’t worked with who have lost their jobs and who also made a big difference to the city and to us. I hope someone will write about them so that when big, bloated government is the cliche de jour, the human face will be put on downsizing and budge cuts. It’s easy to read a number, harder to ignore a name.

Thank you Brent for your priceless contribution.

Barbara Clark

Bainbridge Island

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