The Thurston County Board of Commissioners met yesterday as scheduled, completing proclamations and carrying forward various discussions.
The board welcomed newly elected Carolina Mejia for her first meeting as a Commissioner.
Following approval of the meeting agenda and the board minutes from Dec. 15, 2020 came two presentations.
The first was to proclaim Jan. 9 as National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. District Two Commissioner Gary Edwards thanked Thurston County’s law enforcement agencies for their efforts.
Representatives of various agencies were in attendance, including Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza and Captain Gordon Phillips, Lacey Chief Robert Almada, Olympia Deputy Chief Sam Costello and Tumwater Assistant Chief Jay Mason.
Particular attention was paid to how the police of Thurston county had been handling the expected unrest following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. “Boy, things have changed over the last 40 or 50 years,” said Edwards, who served as Thurston County Sheriff himself for 20 years.
The commissioners further voted for a proclamation in support of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, next Mon., Jan. 18.
Edwards and Mejia spoke of Rev. Dr. King and his accomplishments that still resonate with society today. “As an old resident of Memphis Tennessee, I know how true and alive his message still is today,” Mejia said. The board concluded the topic of Martin Luther King Jr. Day by claiming that projects that will benefit the community will be commencing soon to honor King, though there was no clarification as to what the projects will entail.
Community member Jon Pettit addressed the board to comment on the daytime scheduling of the meetings. He said he felt that an evening meeting schedule would allow more opportunity for the citizens of Thurston County to attend the meetings.
“Almost 300,000 people here and we have one person in the boardroom,” Pettit said. “That’s not a good thing.” Pettit went on to cite the Washington state constitution to bolster a claim that the board isn’t adhering to guidelines as well as they could.
He said he overheard Commissioner Tye Menser say that, due to next week having a holiday, the meeting would be skipped. Citing state law, Pettit explained that regular meetings are to be held on the following business day if a holiday happens to take place on the original date of a regular meeting.
Pettit questioned whether the commissioners concerned themselves with following state laws so much as “manufacturing their own code” and “stifling the people’s voice.” Pettit concluded by reiterating that the times of the meetings should be moved, and they should occur on a schedule in accordance with state laws. The board thanked Pettit for his time but did not comment on any of his statements.
The only other resident to speak came via Zoom. Howard Glastetter spoke about his concerns of the flooding of Nisqually River Thurston county was experiencing in 2019 and 2020. According to Glastetter, the generators at Tacoma Power Utilities were expected to run at full capacity after Labor Day but did not. He said the generators ran at a reduced capacity off and on until as recent as last week. Glastetter wanted the board to ask Tacoma Power why it was decided that the generators would be operated in such a way, when utilizing the natural flooding to increase the power of the generators could have made them more money and helped the residents in Thurston County with power.
Once the public’s opportunity to address the board ended, some standard updates on previous matters were made by the county manager along with approvals on various business practices, such as the move to authorize the Thurston County Treasurer to sell property.
The Board of County Commissioners meets every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. and can be attended via phone (by dialing in at 360-252-9020, Pin 1234) or via the Thurston County YouTube channel. For more information, visit the BoCC website at https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/bocc.