March 13, 2022 Dena Jensen
For community members who regularly follow or who periodically become interested in the activities of the Whatcom County Council, the Council’s March 1, 2022 Special Meeting and informational retreat is a good resource when we have questions about standards, rules, and laws the Council should be following.
The retreat lasted a little over three hours and was video recorded. To help zero-in on particular topics that were covered, there are on-screen informational slides providing highlights of each topic that was discussed during the first two hours of the meeting.
For example, at about 00:48:00 minutes into the meeting, Whatcom County Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Karen Frakes, the County Council’s legal counsel, went into various details related to the Open Public Meetings Act, including a little history regarding issues that have arisen for County officials related to that act. She noted how she takes a very conservative approach in advising Council Members about the act and the importance of elected officials not taking actions that even give the appearance of possibly violating the act.
Here is a list of the topics that were potentially covered in the meeting according to the agenda. The topics that were actually discussed did not seem to follow the order of this list:
Topics of discussion may include:
● Open Public Meetings Act
● Open Public Records Act and public disclosure requests
● Conflict of Interest
● Code of Ethics
● Agenda process and timelines
● I-Legislate overview (tablet access to agendas and packets)
● Council Office supplemental budget process
● Quorum issues
● Council acting in other capacities
● Requesting Council staff assistance
● Requesting Administrative staff assistance
● Boards and commissions
● Board of Equalization overview
● Hearing Examiner overview