Letter to editor: My thoughts on being removed as Finance Committee Chair
Many Edmonds citizens have expressed their concern to me that I will no longer be representing City Council as the Finance Committee Chair. I wanted to clarify my perspectives to the Edmonds community, because our City’s finances are of great interest and concern to many.
It was not my desire or intention to no longer continue my efforts with the Finance Committee. The decision to remove me was made solely by newly appointed City Council President Lora Petso.
I received feedback from other councilmembers that Ms. Petso did not consult them prior to making this decision. Mr. Yamamoto, who will now be the new Finance Chair, expressed his concern and discomfort with her decision. As such, the consequences of this decision rest on the shoulders of Ms. Petso and Ms. Fraley-Monillas, who was appointed in my place.
Addressing Edmonds financial issues was a prime motivation for my interest in serving our community on the City Council. My background, which is well-documented in understanding financial policy, budgeting, financial transparency and municipal accounting, allowed me to make valuable contributions to our financial management, financial oversight, and the clarity of our financial reporting. All of which I perceived as a critical need. I’m proud of my contributions and the progress we’ve made in these areas. Many of you know that this was not easy, as I was often met with great resistance and criticism while attempting to implement new financial reporting, policies and practices.
As Finance Committee Chair, I’ve established an excellent rapport with our Finance Director; a working relationship based on mutual respect, which is necessary as we begin the challenging implementation of “budgeting by priorities.” Clearly there remains hard work ahead; and I have received feedback from many citizens questioning my removal. These citizens agree with me, that my exclusion from this committee is not in the best interest of the City.
Based on where we are in the financial planning models, it will take a significant time period for any new appointee to come up to speed regarding the newly created financial reports, the major financial management decisions and the budgeting process changes. It will also place additional pressures on our Finance Director.
Committee appointments, especially those related to the critical area of finance should be made pragmatically. It should not be a matter of “musical chairs” or ulterior motives unrelated to competence. Obviously, Ms. Petso thinks otherwise.
I want to thank all the citizens who have reached out to me with their concerns. Citizens may continue to express their perspectives to Ms. Petso since she is responsible for this decision. But rest assured that I will forge ahead and continue working hard for the betterment of Edmonds.
Rather than direct your perspectives to me, I ask citizens to continue to direct their perceptions to Ms. Petso since she is responsible for this decision.
Thank you kindly for your support and prayers.