2015 Whatcom County Charter Review Commission

About the Commission

In 1978, voters elected to approve a home rule charter to govern Whatcom County. At least every 10 years after the adoption of the charter, a 15-member Charter Review Commission is elected to:
  • Enhance government efficiency
  • Evaluate possible changes
  • Provide a forum for public input
  • Review the charter to determine its adequacy and suitability to the needs of the county
  • Review the existing structure of government
The Commission may propose amendments to the charter, make recommendations to the County Council, and publish its findings.

 District 1  District 2  District 3
 Todd Donovan  Ken Bell Yvonne Goldsmith
 Barbara Ryan  Chet Dow - Secretary  Wes Kentch
 Eli Mackiewicz  Ben Elenbaas - Chair  Richard May
 Thomas Stuen  Joe Elenbaas - Vice-Chair  Jon Mutchler
 Alie Walker  Cliff Langley  Eileen Sobjack

Commission Schedule

The Charter Review Commission will hold regularly scheduled meetings on the second and fourth Monday of the month, except Memorial Day, until it submits proposed charter amendments to the Whatcom County Council Auditor in August 2015. Special meetings on other days may be scheduled as needed.

Whatcom County Home Rule Charter, Section 8.21

"The Commission may propose amendments to the charter by filing such proposed amendments with the County Council who shall submit the amendment to the voters at the next November general election at least ninety (90) days after the filing and registration of the amendments."

Whatcom County Home Rule Charter, Section 8.20

"If a proposed amendment is approved by a majority of the voters voting on the issue, it shall be effective ten (10) days after the results of the election are certified, unless a later date is specified."

Election of Commissioners

Whatcom County Home Rule Charter Section 8.11

"...The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) persons, an equal number from each Council district. There shall be no filing fee nor shall there be a primary. The qualified voters of the respective districts shall vote only for candidates from their district at the general election. Candidates' names shall appear on all ballots as drawn by lot. The member of the Commission who receives the greatest number of votes shall convene the Commission. The term of office shall be 1 year..."

Public Involvement

The Charter Review Commission welcomes comments from the public.  Commissioners can be contacted individually or as a group through the Whatcom County Council Office.  In addition, all regularly scheduled and special commission meetings are open to the public.  Time is scheduled during each regularly scheduled meeting to accept public comments.