Manchester’s council deals with conflict of interest regulations

A noticeably smaller version of the Manchester Community Council (MCC) convened for its monthly meeting Tuesday night to hear reports from committee heads and discuss the formation of new committees for the upcoming summer season.

However, the meeting stalled on several overlooked housekeeping chores brought to the attention of the council and time ran out before new committees could be formed.

Nineteen of the council’s 45 paid members attended the meeting. According to Sewer Committee Chairman Ron Rada, ULID No. 8 was approved by the Kitsap County commissioners. Bids for the sewer extension will be accepted in June, construction will start the the end of the summer and he said he expects the project to be finished by October.

Bob Ballard briefly reintroduced the topic of height restrictions in Manchester, citing the County’s lack of consistency in enforcing the view ordinance.

“It’s a hot topic,” Ballard said. “It keeps coming up and it needs a lot of attention.”

Ballard pointed out the need to present a strong front to the county.

“We need to get unified and we need to get organized,” Ballard said. “We want to be on the county’s radar screen for services and we can’t do that until we get organized.”

“We need to be cognizant of these things,” Ballard said. “We need to be straight up so the county will listen. All we can do is make recommendations to the county.”

However, new business was dominated by a motion Mark Rebelowski to strike the conflict of interest section from the bylaws in order to prevent stagnant committees and fruitless discussions due to members who have abstained due to conflict of interest issues.

“When you think about it, everyone here has some kind of conflict of interest because we’re involved in our community,” Rebelowski said.

The quorum of 19 voted unanimously to remove the part of the bylaws that states:

“Members of the MCC shall not participate in any discussion or decision in which the counci member, any member of their immediate family, or any partner or close business associate, has a conflict of interest, direct or indirect.

“No member of the council may accept any gift, favor, loan, retainer, entertainment, or other thing of value when such acceptance would result in a conflict of interest, real or apparent.

“A council member having a conflict of interest, as described above, may at any public meeting of the council or a committee, after disclosing the conflict to those present, observe the discussions and deliberations of the Council, and speak from the audience in the same manner as any member of the public who is present.”

It was also discovered that the council had never actually elected the executive board’s five members at large; the official election will occur at the May 24 meeting.

Although the subject was never addressed, comments from March’s town hall meeting were gathered on a handout for members under five subject headers — regaining the village’s historic character, revitalizing the village “center,” partnering with key agencies, establishing recreational venues and developing a village “commons.”

Ballard said he had hoped to form committees for each of the topics in order to better address issues such as beautification and history, underground utilities, development of business base, building standards, transportation, trails and a community center, to name a few.

“We’re here to serve our community,” Ballard said. “(But) we got derailed in housekeeping and politics.”

The MCC will meet again May 24 at 630 p.m. at the Manchester Library. For more information on the MCC visit

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates