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 email@example.com.
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.