Rod Dembowski was selected to serve as the King County Council chair at the first meeting of the year on Jan. 7.
The restructuring is an annual event where new chairpersons are selected for the council and its subcommittees. Dembowski will replace Joe McDermott, who served as chair for three years. “I was happy to be selected the chair of the council this year,” Dembowski said. “It’s kind of the ordinary course—we do a little bit of the rearranging of the chairs.”
Chairs were appointed to seven committees, including the newly created Local Services and Mobility and Environment committees. The Mobility and Environment Committee will focus on transit and environmental issues in the county and replaces the former Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee that disbanded last year. That committee will be chaired by Dave Upthegrove.
The Local Services Committee will work with the newly created Local Services Department and will focus on the county’s role as a regional government. It will address rural road funding challenges as well as permitting and zoning issues. It will additionally look at how to balance different land uses in areas like the Sammamish Valley, where winery tasting rooms and agriculture uses are coming into conflict.
The Local Services Department is headed by John Taylor, who was appointed on Dec. 10 and will serve nearly a quarter-million residents living in unincorporated King County.
The county council will additionally explore moving its meetings to Wednesday instead of Monday to reduce weekend workload for county employees. Committee meetings could be moved earlier in the week to facilitate the schedule change.