We at the Central Washington Sentinel were recently made aware that Kittitas County policy, directed by the County Prosecutors office, has been changed whereas citizens can only talk with one BOCC Commissioner via phone or in-person per day. This comes after all of our commissioners have openly and publicly talked about increased transparency and accountability.
At a time when our country, both locally and nationally, see citizens polarized by issues and perceptions, we need our elected officials to be readily accessible. This new policy adoption by Kittitas County is definitely a move in the wrong direction and makes contact with our primary elected officials much more difficult.
One of the benefits of rural living is knowing those who serve us. Many of us have lived on the west side of the Cascade Range where accessibility to elected officials is both rare and or very infrequent by the majority of citizens. In Kittitas County, however, it has been a pleasure to actually know those public officials you were voting for. While our County cannot stop most of the changes coming its way, we strongly support the citizenry’s ability to meet with and access the Board of County Commissioners, the option of addressing each of them individually by stopping by the Commissioner’s office, and more transparency over less.
In our email inbox today, was an article from Indiana which illustrates that this is a nationwide issue – https://www.news-sentinel.com/news/local-news/2019/12/10/new-system-improves-public-access-to-county-commissioners-agendas-documents/.
This policy shift was directed by our County Prosecutor’s office which gives the appearance that it is diligently seeking ways to limit access to County officials. If the Prosecutor can’t find ways to support citizens’ access to elected officials, it might be time to consider replacing this elected official.