Record Group 401
CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
Record Group 010: King County Freeholders
The Charter Review Commission is the generic name given to a group appointed by the County Executive to review the County Charter and to propose amendments. The original County Charter, as passed by the voters in 1968, contained a provision that allowed the Executive to review the charter or cause it to be reviewed at least once every ten years. Any changes that were recommended as a result of this review process were to be reported to the Council. Prior to 1988, the formal details of the charter review process were left to the Executive's discretion with no legal constraints, requirements or other guidance offered in the text of the County Charter. In 1970, 1976, and 1987, the presiding County Executive appointed a separate Charter Review Commission (variously referred to as the Charter Review Committee) to review the County Charter and propose any amendments it deemed necessary. As a result of the 1987-88 charter review process, however, the King County Charter (Article 8, Section 800) was amended in 1988. Section 800 requires that at least once every ten years, the Executive appoint a citizen commission composed of at least fifteen citizens to review the charter and prepare a written report containing any proposed changes to the charter to the County Council. This Charter Review Commission was to include at least one representative from each of the council districts. A fourth Charter Review Commission, following these precepts, was convened in 1996.
Record Subgroup 401.02
CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE 1976-1977
The 1976-77 Charter Review Committee met from December through July 1977 and produced two final reports. The first report, which was issued in August 1977, contained proposed amendments to the Charter and other recommendations for making county government more efficient. Following the Committee's report, the County Council placed three charter amendments on the ballot in September 1977. The first amendment involved reducing the minimum age requirement of County elected officials from 21 years to 18 years. The second amendment proposed deferring to State statute in the matter of political activities of County employees. The third amendment required that appeals from land use decisions by the Executive Branch go to a hearing examiner process established by Council ordinance (instead of the Board of Appeals). Two of the three ballot issues passed, but the age reduction measure failed. The second report, issued in October 1977, recommended the consolidation of King County and METRO into a single governmental unit. After further input by a citizens advisory committee, the County Council put the Committee's proposal on the November 1979 ballot, but it was unsuccessful at that time.
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401.02-282 Minutes and subject files, 1976-1977
Minutes, notes, and tape recordings of the bi-weekly meetings relating to the work of the second Charter Review Committee, which were held from December 1976 through July 1977. Original materials relating to each of the meetings are not present for all of the meetings that took place. However, the minutes for each meeting were included in a set of notebooks that has been retained. The description of the tapes of the meetings has been based on an index included with the records. No attempt has been made to replay the tapes and they are in an undetermined state of preservation. Also included in this series are subject files containing reports issued by the Committee, press clippings, and other reference materials used by the Committee.
Volume: 1.3 cu ft
Record Subgroup 401.04
CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
The 1996-1997 Charter Review Commission first met in November 1996. The twenty-six member Commission, which was late in being appointed, worked on a very tight schedule in order to meet the goal of having its recommendations ready for the 1997 ballot. The Commission's recommendations were presented in a series of reports issued in June 1997, which proposed several amendments to the Charter. Six proposed amendments to the Charter eventually were placed on the ballot in September 1997. Five of these amendments originated with the Commission's recommendations. These proposed amendments included: creating an independent Ethics Board; increasing the monetary value of public works projects carried out by county work forces; clarifying the method for determining the number of signatures for unincorporated area initiative and referendum petitions; authorizing revisions to laws enacted by initiative or referendum after two years; establishing procedures for interim Assessor, Sheriff, and Executive. The remaining ballot proposal was an amendment initiated by the Council that would have changed the age for holding King County elected offices to eighteen. Only three of the amendments gained voter approval (increasing the monetary value of public works; authorizing revisions to laws, and the establishing of procedures for interim Assessor, Sheriff, and Executive). Following the vote, in an unprecedented move, the County Council in October 1997 passed Motion 10337 which set out a schedule for the Council to consider recommendations made by the Charter Review Commission that the Council had not had time to act on during 1997.
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401.04.455 Working Files, 1996-1998
History, reports, background materials, issue files, meeting packets, and correspondence relating to the work of the 1996-1997 Charter Review Commission. The Commission was organized into four committees: the Public Involvement Committee, Regional Issues Committee, Structural Issues Committee, and the Technical Issues Committee. In addition to these committees, there were two ad-hoc committees on Strategies and Unincorporated Areas Governance. The full Charter Commission met eleven times between December 1997 and May 1998. Meeting files for most of the full Commission meetings include agendas, issues, and summaries, and minutes, while the meeting files for the Committees generally contain only agendas, issues, and summaries.
Volume: 3.63 cu ft