Home Rule Charter
Prepared by the Clallam County
Board of Freeholders
for submission to the voters of the County.
November 2, 1976
Date of this printing: 2020
To the Residents of Clallam County:
In November, 1975, the voters of Clallam County passed a proposition creating a board of Freeholders whose charge, according to Amendment 21 of the Washington State Constitution, was to write a “Home Rule” Charter to submit to the voters of Clallam County for their approval or rejection.
Fifteen Freeholders were elected, three of whom subsequently resigned. Those three were Howard V. “Mike” Doherty, Jr., who resigned when his appointment in March 1976 by Governor Evans to the office of Clallam County Commissioner caused a conflict of interest; John Swingle, who became ineligible in August upon moving out of the district in which he was elected; and Fred Sindars, who resigned in August over a disagreement with a majority decision of the board.
The Freeholders undertook a comprehensive study of the existing form of Clallam County government. This was accomplished through interviews with county officials, past and present; seminars conducted by the Institute of Governmental Research and Services; individual research; and hearings with the public in each of the three Commissioner districts of the county.
When this study was completed, the board undertook the writing of a “Home Rule” Charter reflecting the conclusions gained from the study. A final rough draft of the Charter was made public in August and was taken to the three Commissioner districts for further public hearings.
The proposed Charter closely follows the present system of government. Three Commissioners are nominated by district and elected at large. This Commission exercises the legislative and executive powers of the county as at present. The Assessor, Auditor, Sheriff and Treasurer remain elected officials, as do the Prosecuting Attorney and the Judges of the county.
Major differences found in this Charter include “Home Rule” itself. The Charter is a county constitution designed to give the control of county affairs to the people of the county rather than requiring legislation from Olympia. In addition to the election of our public officials, specific powers reserved to the people are initiative, referendum, mini-initiative and recall. The Charter also calls for the hiring of an Administrative Coordinator to assist the Commissioners in the administrative procedures of the county as the Commissioners may direct.
Approval of the Clallam County “Home Rule” Charter provides for increased local control over our government and increased local involvement in that government by its citizens.
Very Truly Yours,
The Clallam County Board of Freeholders
Commissioner District No. 1
James O. Babcock
Annette J. Kuss, 1st Vice-Chairperson
Edward V. Polhamus
Commissioner District No. 2
Walter G. Davison
Dorothy C. Duncan, Chairperson
Dorothy Munkeby, 2nd Vice-Chairperson
James H. Elbrader
Commissioner District No. 3
Craig A. Fletcher
Robert D. Hall
Evelyn B. Tinkham