Who really runs our community?

November 16th, 2011 by Ken

We’ve just recently finished up our election process and have elected our new community leaders. These are the people who will take us into the future.

They’ll do this by monitoring the pulse of the community, using their knowledge and expertise, and making wise decisions. These are, after all, the people who run local government.

Except, that’s not true. Our elected city council members don’t run anything, and as The Olympian pointed out recently, we have so many new people on our city councils that they will have to depend on their staff for advice and guidance.

And, that’s true. The city administrators in Lacey – Scott Spence and in Olympia – Steve Hall, will have a great deal of influence on how things progress. But, while these administrators will run their respective cities, the real power in the county rests elsewhere.

The people who actually run things in Thurston County have names like Steve Romines, Michael Strub, Mike Harbour, Michael Cade, Jim Quackenbush and Lon Wyrick.

If you don’t recognize these names then you really don’t know how things work. These are the people who really impact you and the services you receive.

The three cities and the county work together on some two dozen regional boards and commissions. Each city and the county sends a representative to these boards and commissions to set policy. But since many of these representatives are new and uninformed, it is the administrators of these boards who actually have the control.

Two dozen boards and commissions control what happens in Thurston County. Some have major impacts such as taxing authority and some have only minor roles to play, but all of them are operated generally by nameless administrators.

Didn’t recognize those names? Steve Romines runs Medic One. Michael Strubb runs LOTT. Mike Harbour runs Intercity Transit. All of those have taxing authority. Michael Cade runs the Economic Development Council. Jim Quackenbush runs 911. Lon Wyrick runs the Thurston Regional Planning Council. All of these spend taxpayer money without the direct consent of the taxpayers.

These men (and they’re all men) operate independently of any direct influence by the taxpayer and have a great deal of impact on our lives.

Just thought you should know their names.

(Editors note: The above commentary aired on KGY radio AM1240 on November 16.)

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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