Citizen Participation Initiative
Document Code No.: PRE 7-1 (AEO)
Department/Issuing Agency: Executive Office
Effective Date: December 30, 1994
Approved: /s/ Gary Locke
Type of Action: New
Signed document (PDF, 2.36 MB)
An Executive Order implementing the Citizen Participation Initiative to enhance opportunities for public involvement and to improve citizen access to the information and services provided by King County government, through recognition of unincorporated area councils, establishment of Community Service Centers to serve incorporated and unincorporated King County and the provision of Community Service Representatives at those Community Service Centers located within unincorporated communities.
WHEREAS, there are 1.6 million people residing in King County who depend on county government for regional services ranging from marriage licensing to public transit; and
WHEREAS, there are 500,000 people residing in unincorporated communities for whom county government is both a regional and local government; and
WHEREAS, it is essential to the successful and effective provision of government services that King County make those services that can be efficiently decentralized, convenient to and available in local communities; and
WHEREAS, King County is committed to improving opportunities for meaningful involvement by citizens of unincorporated areas in decisions regarding the future of their communities;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, King County Executive, do order that the King County Department of Human Services be the lead agency, and that all other King County departments cooperate to implement the Citizen Participation Initiative. Elements of the initiative shall include the following:
(1) Procedures for recognizing existing area councils in the unincorporated area and assistance for communities that wish to establish new area councils in unincorporated King County in order to provide effective and continuing opportunities for citizens to participate in county government processes and decisions that affect their communities.
(2) Direction to departments when to seek advice and comment from unincorporated area councils (UAC) regarding policies, county programs, citizen appointments to advisory committees, community plans, subarea plans, and other plans and issues specifically affecting the citizens within the geographic boundary of the UAC. All departments shall, to the best of their ability, respond to the requests of the UACs for notice and information regarding policies, county programs, citizen appointments to advisory committees, community plans, subarea plans, and other plans and issues affecting the citizens living within the geographic boundary of the UAC.
(3) King County recognition for UACs that have met the following minimum requirements for recognition:
(a) UAC membership must be open to any person who lives within the recognized boundaries of the UAC. Other persons, including but not limited to property and business owners, may be members if further provided in each UAC's bylaws. A UAC must demonstrate that it has sufficient size and breadth of citizen participation to adequately represent the interests of the community.
(b) Each UAC must have clearly stated geographic boundaries in its bylaws. The geographic area of a UAC should correspond to and respect existing community identities, and should not overlap that of any other UAC.
(c) A UAC must not discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, income or political affiliation in any of its policies, recommendations or actions.
(d) Membership contributions may be collected on a voluntary basis only.
(e) The UAC shall maintain a complete and up-to-date set of bylaws at a public location designated by King County.
(f) Each UAC shall, in its bylaws, provide for a public and democratic process for voting and choosing its officers and board members.
(g) Each UAC shall set forth meeting requirements for the membership in the bylaws and shall abide by the Washington State Open Public Meetings Act (RCW 42.30.010 ) relative to public meetings and public records.
FURTHERMORE, UACs may provide the County with community input on behalf of citizens living within the geographic boundary of the UAC, including but not limited to the following issues, programs and policies:
(1) Identify issues of concern to the community and suggest strategies for the county to address affordable housing, environmental protection, open space, water quality, surface water management, economic development, and growth management.
(2) Develop and recommend priorities for services and methods of service delivery in the community for such issues as public safety, public health, human services, transportation, transit, parks, recreation, and arts and heritage programs.
(3) Serve as a resource for citizen input and advice on community or subarea plans affecting the community.
(4) Review proposed county spending in the community and recommend priorities or alternatives desired by the community.
(5) Encourage and solicit community development block grant proposal from organizations in the community.
(6) Assist the County in the development of community or subarea plans, and plan updates.
(7) Review and comment on all other matters referred to it by the County Executive.
(8) Receive notice of, review and comment on land use applications pursuant to all provisions of the King County Code.
(9) Regularly recommend to the County Executive candidates for appointment to County boards, commissions, task forces and citizen advisory committees.
FURTHERMORE, to enhance citizen access to the information and services provided by King County government the Departments of Executive Administration and Human Services are directed to develop a system of Community Service Centers in unincorporated and incorporated communities to provide basic county services to citizens within and near their own communities. Services to be provided should include but not be limited to licensing, assessments, tax and fee payments, small building permits, transit information, and referrals and assistance in obtaining other county services. Community Service Centers within incorporated areas should be located at an existing city hall, or municipal or county facility. Community Service Centers within unincorporated areas should be located appropriately and be of sufficient size and quality to accommodate other county functions such as public safety "storefront precincts". Computer and telecommunications technology should be employed to further enhance citizen access to information and services. Community Service Centers located in unincorporated communities shall also be staffed by a Community Service Representative who shall act as a link between unincorporated citizens and their county government. Duties and responsibilities of a Community Service Representative shall include assisting citizens to organize in order to better represent their interests in county affairs; be a central contact for citizens or groups seeking access to county departments, policy makers, and elected officials; and provide information to local citizens and organizations regarding county issues, programs and services that may affect their community. The first Community Service Centers should be open by July 1, 1995.
/s/ Gary Locke, King County Executive
/s/ John Charles, Manager
Records and Elections