Category Archives: City Council 2013

“Changing an inch is cinch, changing a yard is hard” – Summing Up the Parks Program

The quote in the title sums up the current Parks and Recreation department situation.  City Manager Bill McDonald was charged with examining all city departments to find where the city can save money and improve quality of service for the citizens.

The point of contention throughout this whole process was the fact that he dismissed the former Parks Director, who we have to assume was doing a poor job, and had not immediately hired a new one.  Councilmembers John Palmer and Kent Boyle took up this issue as their cross to carry for the last two months.  Councilmember Palmer, in particular, could not seem to remove himself from this topic.

Not only was this rhetoric spewed from the dias, but also in emails to the public and memos to the city manager.  You can read both an email from Palmer to citizens that was posted on Facebook and the memo sent to the city manager jointly by Palmer and Boyle at the end of this post.

When the city manager announced Tuesday night that he had moved Dick Webber from the Recreation Center to the Activity Center/Pavillion and moved Sarah Harris to the Rec Center, as well as made her the overseer of the Parks Department everyone seemed to be happy, including Palmer and Boyle.

Mr. McDonald did what he was charged to do and improved the quality of the programs within the Parks and Rec Department.  Not only do we now have a director, but he is in the process of hiring a Facilities Manager that the city desperately needs.  Since Sarah Harris, as director, will be in charge of the Rec Center, therefore eliminating that position, he is able to hire the Facilities Manager and not add a FTE to the city’s budget.  The perfect solution to these problems.

The biggest question remaining is what is Councilmember Palmer going to talk about for his remaining 2+ years on the council.  In his first year on the job the only thing you heard out of him was the word “so” about 325 times.  Then he spent the last couple months talking about a parks problem that was only a problem because he made it one.  We can only assume he will spend his time micromanaging the last 9 months of Bill McDonald’s administration.

As for Councilmember Boyle, it looks like his last 9 months on the council will consist of him “asking just a quick question,” forwarding city emails to scorned ex-councilmembers to post in The News Tribune comments, and expressing his anger at life toward citizens and other councilmembers, as he did at the study session March 26.  Which you can watch here, click on the March 26 Study Session.

This change should have been an inch, but instead it got changed into a yard.

Below is the email and memo.

Palmer Email

Memo Parks Rec

Filed under City Council 2013, John Palmer, Kent Boyle

Final Word on Parks Study: The Process Was Done Correctly

***Edit: Here is the link to the Parks Study for your reading.***

Now that this non-controversial controversial park study has been presented to the public and city council we can move forward with what it means for the city and the future of its’ parks programs.

But, before we can do that, we need to address the only issue some people have left, how the study was conducted. Simply put, this study was conducted in the absolute correct manner.

The city manager, as CEO of the city, has every right to conduct a study of one of his departments in the way he believes is best. He chose to have six current city staffers, from all different departments conduct this internal study for him to present to the council and public. Now, keep in mind the fact that one of the six chosen is a former Parks Department staffer recently moved over to the City Manger’s office staff, so any biases involved would have more than likely favored the Parks Department. And note, we are NOT saying there was any biases in the report!

Secondly, people who believe that the Parks and Rec Board should have been involved in this process don’t understand what the Parks and Rec Board’s job is. It is an advisory board for the City Council. This was not a City Council initiated study. The Parks Board had no business being involved in this study at its initial stage. Now that the study is complete and presented, it’s a bit of a different story, and we’ll get to the Board’s role in a second.

Thirdly, once again, as this was a city manager initiated study, citizens and the council had no business being involved in the study. This study needed to be free from outside influence, and it was.

But, let’s just say that the Parks Board, citizens, and council were involved in the study. How would it have been any different? What could have been improved on? The study contained nothing controversial. Everyone seems to agree that the report was very well put together and contained a lot of good information. It of course didn’t contain any of the ridiculous rumors spouted off by misguided citizens and former council members. People who actually believed these rumors and are now complaining about the process because they were duped may not be vigilantes, but are certainly easily influenced by unreliable sources.

The complainers of the process, which include two councilmembers, are choosing to complain because the study didn’t contain what they hoped for. They wanted it to have information they could use against our city manager and councilmembers they don’t like. Instead what they got was a great study with lots of useful information that will end up making our city more efficient and our parks, park programs, and recreation center better.

Now that the study is done, it is time for the Parks Board and citizens to analyze it, critique it, and question it. The Parks Board should be digging into at their next meeting, asking questions, finding where the report missed out, and advising the council on what to do next. We the citizens need to let the council and city manager know what we think about the study. This is only a study, nothing more. No decisions have been and no major recommendations were even brought forth.

The sky is not falling. The only thing that may be overwhelming right now is the amount of information received. Information that no past city council or citizenry has ever had before. This is one more step toward transparency and efficiency for our city government.

Filed under City Council 2013

John Hopkins Files with PDC

Current District 1 City Councilmember John Hopkins has filed with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) to run for council again this year.

Some of you may be wondering why he is running again in 2013.  Well, he ran for and won in 2011 to fulfill the final two years of George Dill’s seat that George won in 2009.  Mr. Dill passed away shortly after winning the election.  The first two years of his term were filled by a council appointed citizen and the last two years went up for election.  Mr. Hopkins won that election.

So, just two short years later he is running again, for the same seat he is currently in but this time a victory will give him the full four year term.

Once Mr. Hopkins was seated on the council, he and others started hacking away at the mess left them by the previous council majority and current councilmember Kent Boyle.

In Mr. Hopkins’ brochure from 2011 he listed several items he would like to work on as a councilmember.  Here is the list.

  • Pass initiative and referendums to restore public trust
  • Establish good risk management to eliminate expensive litigation
  • Sell excess real estate and consolidate city operations
  • Reduce our debt load so we can properly maintain all our city assets including infrastructure and roads
  • Ensure growth does not adversely impact neighborhood quality

Now, keeping in mind the fact that it has only been 15 months since he joined the council and many of these things require cooperation from many different government entities, which usually move at a glacier-like pace, he and the current council majority have made significant improvements in all of those areas.

Initiatives and referendums was sponsored by Mr. Hopkins and are now in affect.  The only litigation that remains is one case from the Gary McLean era.  The city currently has two of its’ real estate properties listed for sale and City Hall is getting reorganized for better usage.  The debt load is slowly being whittled down, from a high of $90 million to its’ current state of around $65 million.  Current projects have not adversely affected neighborhoods, but have enhanced them, including the 8th Ave NW project.  The sure to be disastrous Cultivating Puyallup plan was also eliminated.

As you can see, the current council with Mr. Hopkins as a member has done an outstanding job improving our city and turning around the disaster handed to them.  If you are a District 1 voter, four more years of Mr. Hopkins can help us get farther out of that mess.

Filed under City Council 2013, Election 2013, John Hopkins

Squashing Rumors: No City Parks For Sale

Rumors of the City Council and City Manager wanting to sell off the Recreation Center and other city parks have been lingering throughout the city for the last month. Where these rumors came from and validity of them has been questioned.

All of this came to a head at the February 11 Parks and Rec Board meeting. Now understand that these meetings typically have 3-5 citizens sitting in the audience. So when 40-50 people were in attendance you knew something was amiss. Add in the fact that some of Puyallup politics most dubious and selfish people, Kathy Turner and Nicole Martineau, were present and you can get the picture of where this one was headed.

The agenda called for a presentation by city staff informing the board that the City Manager had a committee conduct a study of the parks and parks facilities. The staff was to invite the board to attend the February 19 City Council meeting where the presentation of the study would be shared with the council and the public. This presentation will be the first time the council members have seen the study and know what the City Manager is recommending. So, the fact that certain people are perpetuating rumors of an imminent sale of city parks is laughable.

What’s not laughable is the way they have chosen to spread these rumors. Frequent visitors of both the Activity Center and Recreation Center are passionate about those facilities and the programs offered through them. So when they heard that “the council and city manager were going to sell them” they became concerned and upset, understandably. And that is exactly what the people who have started the rumors wanted. They wanted to prey on the emotions of the people who use the facilities to build distrust with the current Council and City Manager.

In addition to Turner and Martineau, many of their supporters were present, including council members Kent Boyle and John Palmer. When Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Martineau attacked the current council and furthered rumors of parks closing and buildings being torn down, neither of them stood up to tell the public that the council has NEVER received this information from the City Manager or the investigating committee. Mr. Boyle kept those rumor fires burning by implying eminent doom and repeated that there were rumors from within as to the demise of the current parks’ structure.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Boyle took part in promoting the hysteria when he knew there was no information to back up Mrs. Turner’s rumors. It is embarrassing to see Mrs. Martineau’s bitterness over her lost election result in her appearance at advisory board meetings to take shots at the current council. It is sad to see former council member Kathy Turner show up at events to proclaim her greatness and repeat her past great accomplishments, through her own distorted view. Other past council members have moved on, it is pathetic that she cannot.

Since Council Member Boyle chose not to calm the public and stop the rumors, we will. The City Council has no idea what will be presented to them on Tuesday night. Maybe the City Manager will recommend selling city property. Maybe he won’t. If he doesn’t, there are going to be a lot of people looking silly. Come to the meeting on February 19 and hear the presentation for yourself. Until then, don’t believe everything you hear from people wearing gloves.

Filed under City Council 2013, City Manager