Democracy is greater than a vote, it’s involvement, it’s a collaboration, it’s a system where we are meant to talk, discuss, and gather input before the policy is set.
As an activist who has been requesting community involvement with the $70 million-plus creation of Lynnwood’s jail labeled as a community justice center, I am not surprised by the lack of transparency of the City of Lynnwood picking a new police chief.
Zero open discussion.
Zero place for comment.
The decision has been made.
It’s all theatrics now.
“We made the best decision for this time,” I can imagine them saying.
The best decision is honesty.
The best decision is transparency.
The best decision is community involvement.
Selecting a new police chief through the privacy of executive sessions, bending the rules, and avoiding public comment… is not democracy… it’s a business of incarceration.
The City of Edmonds did its due diligence and got a highly respected police chief because the city was transparent about the process and involved the people.
However, with the current mayor, there is a disturbing trend to break protocol and hire whoever they want for the position. Long-time city employee and veteran Art Ceniza, who served as Lynnwood’s Assistant City Administrator, bravely returned to council chambers to speak of his experience with the current city’s hiring process.
I encourage people who care about democracy to encourage the City of Lynnwood to change the agenda Monday to select an interim Police Chief, not a final one without transparency or input from the people.
Put out a call of hire, review the applicants, show the people who the top three candidates are, and allow for public comment.
That’s how democracy works, not by intimidation and tweaking the system just to get a friend in a higher position of power.
I can assume that the candidates that have been picked behind closed doors are qualified and have done great work. Then give them the due process they deserve, and make the hiring process open and public.
— By Elizabeth Lunsford
Elizabeth Lunsford lives in Lynnwood.