Ring, Ring… It’s the City Calling…

If your phone rings on April 16 or 17, it might be the City of Tacoma calling you.

Around 10,000 randomly selected telephone landlines across Tacoma's five Council Districts will ring beginning April 16 informing residents of a telephone town hall scheduled for April 17 at 7 p.m. During this event, which will also be televised and streamed live on TV Tacoma, Charter Review Committee members will gather public comments and questions from residents regarding proposed changes to the City Charter. The City Charter is Tacoma’s constitution, and it is reviewed every 10 years.  

That's round one. Then, shortly before the town hall meeting on April 17, about 7,500 landlines will ring a second time, with an invitation to participate. If you're on the other end of one of those calls, and you stay on the line, you will have the chance to make a comment or ask a question of the committee.

If you don't get the call, you can still follow along on TV Tacoma, or by showing up at the meeting in person. You can also submit your comments by phone or email. And if you're hip to the social medias, you can post to the City Facebook page or tweet at them.

Five Charter Review subcommittees are in the process of developing recommendations for changes to the City Charter over the last couple months.

The Form of Government subcommittee is exploring the potential impacts of a change of the basic structure of Tacoma's government. A proposal has been made to consider a change to the "strong mayor" system, with an elected executive Mayor and City Council and a Chief Administrative Officer.

The Article II Legislative subcommittee is reviewing the details of Article II of the City Charter, which addresses the number of council members and council districts, term limits for the mayor and council, the authority of the mayor and council, and the compenstion provided for elected officials. This subcommittee has several recommendations on topics including adjustments to maintain consistency with state law, and changes aimed at ensuring accountability, transparency, and citizen engagement.

The Article III Administrative subcommittee has been tasked with reviewing Article III of the City Charter, which relates to roles and responsibilities of elected and appointed officials, including the City Manager, City Attorney, and Mayor.

The Article IV Public Utilities subcommittee has been taking a look at the relationship between the City Council and Tacoma Public Utilities. More specifically they are looking at the Council's authority over and accountability for Tacoma's public utilities.

The Human Resources subcommittee is considering various recommendations from residents, Mayor and Council, City departments and the County Auditor. They are evaluating each recommendation for potential to increase citizen involvement, simplify Charter language, or improve City services.

Just prior to the town hall meeting on the 17th, each subcommittee will present items it has identified to move forward, as well as issues still under consideration. This should be a good chance to get a rundown on what changes are on the table, and which way the committee is leaning. Following those presentations, the committee will proceed with the town hall meeting. (Full press release here.)

Residents will also have the opportunity to comment on charter review issues at a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, April 9 at City Hall.

Are you hoping your phone will ring? If it does, what questions do you have?

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Joseph Atkinson

Is there a number people can call in to participate, or are they for some reason limiting it to random landline numbers?

April 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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And who has a land line (POTS - plain old telephone system)? Even my mother in her 90s has VOIP, no more land line.

The city has already gotten into trouble (under former manager Anderson) over trying to raid money from Tacoma Public Utilities (which serve more than Tacoma). That direction opens up large liabilities.

April 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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