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Cd’A council to explore rotating liaisons

Staff Writer | July 6, 2020 1:06 AM

The Coeur d’Alene City Council will take some time Tuesday night to discuss how its members interact with the different departments that drive the day-to-day operations within the city.

Council members Christie Wood and Dan Gookin will explore new strategies to combat what they describe as a dwindling in communication between department committees and the council.

“We just want to talk about what we can do to improve communication,” Gookin said. “Years ago, we used to do council liaisons. Then they stopped doing liaisons. We want to talk about maybe bringing something like that back in some form … There’s an ownership that happens over time,” Gookin said, “where council members will become so involved they end up serving more as a department representative, as opposed to a resource.”

Gookin said he would like to see a return to a more open communication between departments and elected officials, giving the council a broader lens as to what’s happening in Coeur d’Alene.

“This will allow council to still attend the (department) meetings,” he explained, “get carbon copies on everything that’s happening, so we can go back to council and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on.’”

Part of the presentation will suggest six-month limits as liaison, allowing members to rotate to the different departments over time.

Fellow council member Kiki Miller, who said she has not yet seen an outline of Tuesday’s presentation, said she was eager to hear what Gookin and Wood had to say, adding that she is all for any measure that improves communication.

“It sounds like something that could strengthen communication internally,” Miller said, “and those liaisons would then come back and give a more detailed report of what’s happening and what some of the issues are that each department faces. I think, just from what I’ve heard, it could be great. It sounds like every council member would be able to have a stronger understanding of what’s happening in the city.”

Tuesday’s meeting at the public library’s downstairs Community Room begins at 6 p.m.