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Freeholders’ Charter Plan Comes Up Blank

Spokane County freeholders have a vision for a new combined government. But we can’t see it just yet.

Copies of the proposed city-county charter rolled off the presses and into libraries, city halls and government offices around the county last week. But anyone picking up a copy of the 16-page tabloid may notice a peculiar thing.

One page is blank.

That was to be the “Vision Page,” where freeholders hoped to set the tone for the coming debate over a major change in government. Their signed comments - which they believe could guide future leaders if the charter were to be adopted - were to precede the preamble, freeholder Al Lewis said.

But somewhere in the printing process, that page was mislaid.

That blank page, which graces the back cover of the publication, should have been a tip-off, Lewis said.

“If I had a 16-page document … and the last page is blank, I’d probably call somebody to make sure that was right.”

Jim Gibbons, county director of printing and duplicating, said he didn’t notice the omission. As printed, the charter starts with a preamble and ends with a timetable for switching to a new government.

“I’m taking responsibility for it. I looked at it and didn’t notice anything was missing,” Gibbons said. “I didn’t know they wanted to have a little sermon in there.”

Rather than arguing over blame, Gibbons said his shop will print 10,000 more copies at no cost to freeholders. Because the print shop is self-sustaining, the extra press run won’t cost county taxpayers either.

New versions, complete with vision statements, will replace the old copies in locations around Spokane County. Lewis said freeholders will distribute the old visionless versions at forums and speeches where they can offer the vision verbally.

, DataTimes



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