Council’s approval for new printer gets jammed


The City Council conducted fairly brisk business at its meeting Wednesday. The seven members approved a proposal to 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 winners.

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 once.

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 1997.

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 said.

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 continue.)

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 issue.

Quite an argument for one printer, albeit a pricey one.

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 of scale?

Perhaps that’s the debate to come.

2 thoughts on “Council’s approval for new printer gets jammed

  1. Easy to see the signs and evidence of an “up sale” when you work in a private sector company that uses that same sales tool.

  2. “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 said.”

    It is interesting that the city councilman is so detailed oriented that he is aware of the specific needs of the parks department. How many hours has the councilman volunteered in the parks printing office?

    To many elected officials react to the immediate threat, in this case spending money, without actually becoming familiar with the situation. The elected title seems to gift many elected officials with an attitude they know better than anyone what is best. Even if it is based on incomplete, inaccurate, or non existing data and facts.

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