The Metropolitan King County Council began its New Year today with the unanimous appointment of Councilmember Larry Gossett as Chair of the County Council for 2011. Council Chair Gossett will be joined by Councilmember Jane Hague, who was reappointed as Vice Chair of the Council and Chair of the Committee of the Whole.
“King County is no different than the state of Washington or the Federal Government; we all realize because of the economic crisis there’s a challenge in providing the services people expect from their government,” said Gossett. “The Council is responsible for ensuring that the services we are mandated by law to provide are available in these days of shrinking budgets. At the same time, it is King County’s responsibility to provide for those that are in crisis—especially given the state of the economy. My goal will be to work with my colleagues to make sure this is done in an atmosphere of bipartisanship and transparency.” “With government at a crossroads, this is a very exciting time to lead. The Council has its work cut out for it in 2011 and I’m energized by these challenges,” said Hague who as Chair of the Committee of the Whole will direct the only standing committee on which all nine members serve. “I look forward to working across the aisle and building on the reforms we made in 2010. We need to get King County back on the right track towards fiscal sustainability.”
The Chair and Vice-Chair, working together as the Council’s management team, set the agendas for meetings of the Council and Committee of the Whole and coordinate the referral and scheduling of legislation. Gossett was first elected to the County Council in 1994. He was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Adult and Juvenile Justice Operational Master Plans (AJOMP and JJOMP), programs that have focused on alternatives to incarceration and emphasize treatment and prevention over detention. Gossett was Chair of the Council in 2007 and has served as Budget Chair three times, most recently in 2009. Councilmember Hague joined the County Council in 1994, and was elected Council Chair two years into her first term. She has held most major Council leadership positions including serving more than eight years on the Budget Leadership Team. Hague’s leadership extended to the National Association of Counties where she served as president and is still a member. The next step for the Council in its yearly reorganization will be the naming of chairs and the appointment of members to the Council’s standing committees, scheduled to take place later this month.