AKCHO board advocates against County ordinance that would affect 4Culture’s governance

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Categories: Sound Off

Ed. note: The AKCHO Board of Trustees has sent a letter to all members of the King County Council, urging them to reject proposed Ordinance #2018-0086. The letter included the comments put forth below.

If you would like to share your views with the AKCHO board, please send them via e-mail to heritageadvisor@akcho.org.

Elements of the proposed Ordinance #2018-0086 and the lack of discussion with stakeholders prior to the proposal have raised concerns throughout the heritage community and within the AKCHO (Association of King County Historical Organizations) Board of Trustees.

AKCHO encourages King County Council members to identify any issues related to accountability and/or equity concerns about the distribution of public funds and discuss them with 4Culture itself, as well as with local cultural nonprofits, prior to any changes. AKCHO would welcome being part of that discussion.

Of particular concern for the AKCHO Board are the following changes to current policy:

  • King County Council authority to accept or reject 4Culture’s annual budget
  • King County Council authority to hire or remove 4Culture’s Executive Director
  • King County council authority to appoint individuals to the 4Culture Board

The proposed ordinance brings up many questions, including:

  • What are the issues of accountability or equity that caused this ordinance to be proposed?
  • If this ordinance were passed, how would this affect the legal status of 4Culture as a PDA? 4Culture was created as a PDA because that structure allowed public funds to be stretched further than would be possible with a traditional government agency like the Office of Cultural Resources, the King County department which preceded 4Culture. With this reduced level of autonomy, could 4Culture continue as a PDA? Or would it become a government office, with county government legally responsible for its liabilities and expenses? Would this increase King County’s expenses?
  • Would current levels of county funding for arts and heritage be in jeopardy? The ordinance mentions undefined ‘civic’ issues; would a shift in priorities divert funding away from arts and heritage? Would the authority of the King County Council to reject 4Culture’s budget open the door to diverting funding away from arts and heritage and towards other county expenses?

4Culture provides funding that is vital to the operation of many King County history and heritage organizations, both large and small. These organizations not only provide cultural resources for residents, but generate tax dollars for King County by attracting people to live in our region and tourists to visit.


Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to heritageadvisor@akcho.org.

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit http://www.akcho.org/members.

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!




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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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P.O. Box 3257
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