The City Council conducted fairly brisk business at its
meeting Wednesday. The seven members approved a proposal
allow beer and wine tasting at the farmers market; they created
a new parallel parking zone on Washington Avenue and 11th Street;
they even took time to congratulate student science fair
You might say the printer discussion, however, got jammed.
The decision to lease a new printer for the city’s parks
department, at a cost of $9,200 a year for half a decade, wasn’t
actually due for much talk. The Council discussed it the week prior
at its study session and had determined it to be appropriate to go
in the consent agenda, a bundle of items it votes on all at
But during public comment, Robert Parker, a civic activist who
lives in Port Orchard, took issue with the printer, saying the
parks department would need nowhere near its 150,000-page printing
capacity. Parker, who has spearheaded efforts in the city to
include the battle against discarded needles and graffiti, knows a
little something about printing: he’s run a print shop since
Councilman Roy Runyon agreed with Parker, saying some cost
savings could be found by giving the department “something they
need, not something they want.”
“This is way more machine than we need,” Runyon
His comments were too longwinded for Councilman Eric
Younger, whose “point of order” brought about an up or down vote on
whether to kill the discussion since it was a consent agenda item.
He was joined by Council members Dino Davis, Leslie Daugs and Mike
Sullivan in providing the four votes that would move the
Council past the issue.
But Council President Greg Wheeler still allowed for
further discussion despite the 4-3 vote. (Wheeler had joined Runyon
and Councilman Jerry McDonald in voting to allow discussion to
Jeff Elevado, recreation manager for the park’s
department, defended the leasing of the Ricoh MPC 6502 model copier
and printer, saying it was necessary for the volume of brochures
and program guides the department puts out each year.
“All our research is telling us that this is the
right printer,” he said.
Just about everyone weighed in and ultimately, the
Council voted 5-2 to pass the consent agenda, which included
leasing the printer (Runyon and McDonald dissented).
“It was thoroughly vetted,” Davis said of the
Quite an argument for one printer, albeit a pricey
But the discussion did make me wonder about how
city government — or really, any organization — approaches such
purchases. Elevado told me later that there’s a pool of government
entities that bid together on these pieces of technology, helping
to bring their costs down.
The city doesn’t just require a copy machine in the
parks department — there’s at least one in every department. I
wonder if there’d be a financial advantage if they were all leased
together through one contract. And for that matter, what other
pieces of equipment and technology could be bundled up and
purchased or leased together, attaining the benefits of economies
Perhaps that’s the debate to come.