Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households and Businesses in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood
May 7, 2008
Stella Chao, Director
Department of Neighborhoods
7005 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
P.O. Box 94649
Seattle, Washington 98124-4649
RE: Public Records Request and CAC Accountability
Dear Ms. Chao,
The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees has become increasingly concerned about the composition issue on the Children’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and the role you have provided to the CAC chair on this and other issues with little or no accountability to the full CAC. Pursuant to the state’s Public Records Act, please provide us with all of your exchanges and communications and those of your staff—letters, email communications and telephone notes—with Karen Wolf and Catherine Hennings and other CAC members since initiation of the master planning process. This request includes communications regarding filling vacancies on the CAC and all other matters.
In your memorandum of April 8, 2008, you indicate that you will work with the CAC chair and Children’s to develop a process for filling CAC vacancies. The Major Institutions Code provides no role for the CAC chair or the CAC, for that matter, in filling vacancies. It is inappropriate that you should choose to involve the CAC chair. If Ms. Wolf has been involved, there has been no reporting to the full CAC. There is no place in the master planning process for secret meetings and secret communications and no accountability to the full CAC. The chair of any group operates under the direction of the board or the body. How can this be possible if she receives no direction from the full CAC and does not report to the CAC? In your letter, you also indicated you would keep us informed about the vacancy process. We have heard nothing from you in this regard.
In LCC’s letter of January 15, 2008, we recommended that at CAC meetings, DON staff provide a brief report of meetings, events, activities and important discussions involving CAC members and the institution, DON and/or DPD with the institution or CAC officers, and issues that surfaced in between meetings. You ignored this recommendation, which was intended to ensure that all CAC members are informed and have the same tools upon which to make decisions and also that the public is informed.
Still another example of the chair’s lack of accountability is her recent hiring of Heffron Transportation with no authorization by the full CAC. Yes, several months ago there was mention of having both an independent transportation consultant and an independent hospital consultant. But, the CAC made no decision on this. Ms. Heffron told me expressly that Ms. Wolf had hired her. During her comments at the meeting, Ms. Heffron described her role indicating that she would report to the chair—not the full CAC. This is inappropriate and grossly unfair to other CAC members who share a role in decision making. During the public comment period, I asked that she report to the full CAC, not just its chair. The other issue that was not adequately addressed is whether any transportation consultant can be considered independent if the firm is paid by Children’s.
We see that the Children’s master planning process is not open and transparent as it should be and that the CAC chair is working outside the appropriate bounds of her role. We hope you will work with us to change this. We look forward to your response to our public records request. We hope the material we have requested can be sent electronically.
Liz Ogden, Vice President Jeannie Hale, President
5005 48th Avenue NE 3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105 Seattle, Washington 98105
206-517-5862 206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631
cc: Steve Sheppard and Karen Gordon, DON; Councilmembers Sally Clark, Tim Burgess, Tom Rasmussen and Jean Godden, members of the Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee