Opinion

EDITORIAL: Two-thirds Park rule should end

Commissioner Tom Johnson of the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District is doing the right thing in trying to undo a silly rule that makes it inordinately difficult for the board to accomplish anything.

For some reason obscured by passing years, the board at one time adopted a rule that requires two-thirds support for a measure to pass. Trouble is, the board includes five members. Three “yes” votes gets you only 60 percent of the vote, about 7 percent short of the required two-thirds majority. As a result, four votes -- or 75 percent approval -- is needed to decide on a proposal. As a result, two of the five commissioners can team up to stop anything they don’t like.

In a country where it is commonly understood that majority rules, this is an absurd situation. A simple majority vote on the five-member panel should be sufficient to pass any motion.

There’s a Catch-22 in this situation as well. It takes a two-thirds vote to change the bylaws to require a simple majority vote. And so far, Johnson has been unable to garner the necessary support. He became so frustrated that last meeting he attempted to remove to Jan Sabalausky from her position of chairwoman, claiming that she was preventing the board from changing the policy.

An outsider can’t tell what personal politics may be playing in this dispute, but it’s time to put personalities aside. It only makes sense to switch to majority rule on matters that come before the board. Even four of five commissioners should be able to figure this out. For the sake of all people who want a more active, effective, Park Board, get it done as quickly as possible.

Community Events, April 2014

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