Opinion

County exec should maintain Snoqualmie Valley connections

Snoqualmie Valley Record Publisher William Shaw, left, leads a discussion on economic issues with  Dow Constantine, right, during the King County Executive’s tour of Valley cities. From left are Sallal Water Distict Business Manager Paul Tredway, Encompass Executive Director Gregory Malcolm, Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fritz Ribary, Sherwood Group owner Sherwood Korssjoen, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Administrator Rodger McCollum, Northwest Railway Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson and Kevin Hauglie of Farmer’s Insurance. - Courtesy photo
Snoqualmie Valley Record Publisher William Shaw, left, leads a discussion on economic issues with Dow Constantine, right, during the King County Executive’s tour of Valley cities. From left are Sallal Water Distict Business Manager Paul Tredway, Encompass Executive Director Gregory Malcolm, Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fritz Ribary, Sherwood Group owner Sherwood Korssjoen, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Administrator Rodger McCollum, Northwest Railway Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson and Kevin Hauglie of Farmer’s Insurance.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

In a speech marking his first 100 days in office earlier this month, King County Executive Dow Constantine presented a draft of his plan to drive down the cost of county government.

Constantine seeks to improve how the county does business, using budgeting strategies, a new culture of customer service and a partnership with his own employees.

In his outline, the Executive called for change in line with goals he set forth in a King County Strategic Plan that recently went to the county council.

When Constantine ran for election, he also promised to build greater regional cooperation and foster stronger ties to the county’s rural residents and their local city governments. The Executive followed up on his campaign promise late last month when he and his key staffers met with the mayors and government leadership of the cities of North Bend, Snoqualmie, Carnation and Duvall.

Constantine and city leaders discussed in detail the challenges, opportunities and concerns of each individual community. The mayors then took a tour of each city and the areas around them. During the tour, it was clear to the Executive that Snoqualmie Valley has its own unique personality, quite different from the other east King County cities.

Besides strengthening relations with the heads of Valley government, Constantine’s mission also was to also meet and listen to Valley community and business leaders, who helped him get an even broader feel for the pressing issues and needs of the Snoqualmie Valley. As part of his tour, Executive Constantine and his staff exchanged ideas with a few Valley business and community leaders at a small ad-hoc gathering hosted by the Snoqualmie Valley Record. During Constantine’s visit to the Record, the attendees echoed the desire of the other suburban city leaders desire to increase tourism as a way to boost local economic development, and to find creative ways to encourage enhancement of the local business and service communities.

Executive Constantine said the day was very productive and that he came away from the visits with a lot of ideas that he instructed his staff to follow up on. His goal was for King County to use its staff and resources more effectively to strengthen partnerships with the Valley city leaders. Such collaborations could include boosting the regional economy and preserving the quality of life that is clearly what makes the Snoqualmie Valley so special.

Constantine and his department heads can do much toward their mission to build a ‘culture of performance’ in King County government, by continuing it’s ethos of breaking the molds of the previous county administration’s way of doing business. Part of this mission is in finding new and creative ways to effectively partner with his counterparts ‘on the ground’ in rural King County: the county council members of districts nine and three.

All in all, Constantine’s crash course in the Snoqualmie Valley was a positive first step. As he moves forward, keeping Valley mayors and other local leaders on ‘speed-dial’ is important.

Keeping an open mind and ear and a fresh view as to how he can best serve his constituents in the Valley will be of even more help as he continues his journey as County Executive.

• E-mail Valley Record Publisher William Shaw at wshaw@valleyrecord.com

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