Another take on the Mayor-City Manager discussion

As Edmonds citizens begin to analyze the merits of keeping our current Mayor-City Council form of city government, or changing to a City Manager-led system, we wanted to post this presentation from Edmonds City Councilmember D.J. Wilson, which he shared at last Tuesday’s council meeting. (Wilson favors the current Mayor-Council structure.)

More details on that meeting can be found here. The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on July 20 and possibly take action to place the measure before Edmonds voters on the November general election ballot.

  1. It is apparent Wilson is opposed to a Council/Manager city goverment. And that he then simply sat down to create an arguement against same. So it appears he is in most ways a typical politician and in his particular case one who likes to hear himself talk too much and craves the approving attention of others, both excessively.

    BUT why is he so opposed to the Council/Manager concept? More importantly, why is he SO anxious that the citizens DO NOT have an opportunity to vote on it?
    Why does he fear the people’s vote?

    There are indications he has been involved in some shenagians among local Democrats supporting a questionable appointment of County Councilman Cooper to the temporary post of Edmonds Mayor. This would leave a possible appointment for himself to replace Cooper. That, unfortunately may be the real game this over talkative eager beaver is truly motivated by. Among his numerous failures is his electoral loss to the County Council.

    The Edmonds City Council needs to ignore this “BTO (big time operator)” and put the Council/ Manager issue on the ballot SO the citizens can properly decide thereby avoiding the petty, self serving manipulations of DJ Wilson.

  2. Mr. Martin:

    Please outline the benefits you see to having a City Manager. I am interested in your side of the argument. Personal attacks on another do not count as argument. I will look forward to your civilized discourse.

  3. In actuality, Mr. Wilson’s presentation is very good and matched up well with most of the information I have culled from researching the Internet. I sat through the presentation and then reviewed it afterwards.

    If the Citizens are to indeed have a vote on the issue, it would seem important that they hear fromm people like Mr. Wilson, who have done extensive research on the subject. They don’t have to agree with him, but I think it is imperative that they really understand both sides of the issue.

    I await the opportunity to hear the other side of the issue. Hopefully something more concrete than “Well, other cities do it.”

  4. By the way. I don’t know what the right form of government yet, I am still researching. Dianne Buckshnis offered to share some research that she has done. I am meeting with her on Monday to review it. But, here is another analysis from a city in Texas earlier this year.

    I find it refreshing that Council member Buckshnis is willing to take the time to share her research with ordinary citizens.

  5. Now that I am started, i might as well keep furnishing the results of my research..

    According to the research report that Concilmember Plunkett distributed, 228 of 280 cities in Washington use the Council/Mayor system versus 52 that use the Council/Manager system.

    However, that includes many tiny cities that don’t call for the administrative needs that larger cities do.

    For cities over 10,000 in population the split is 50/50 with 37 cities using each system.

    If you only compare with cities the size of Edmonds or larger (popu;lation of 40,000), the split changes to 17 with Council/Mayor 14 with Council/Manager.

    Again, Edmonds shouldn’t do just what everybody else is doing, we should figure out what is best for our own circumstances. And, the statistics don’t really give any clear direction anyway.

  6. Priya, the chief advantage of the Council/Manager format would have our chief administative officer concerned only with the efficiency of city goverment operation. The Mayor spends much of his time legislating using his ability to control the City Council currently with only Wilson and Peterson to do his bidding. Last year he controlled 4 CC members and we had for example the unpopular hearing examiner issue enacted, only to be promptly discarded this year. So Council/Manager would ensure a more business-like, less political approach to city operation, which I might add, we sorely need especially in the area of finances.

    I am simply not a strong proponent of Council/Manager, just a “preponderance of evidence” type, perhaps 65% so.


    And also ask Mayor Haakenson your question. He has told me recently he would support the The Council/Manager form. Does that tell you something?

  7. Ray, thank you for your input. I am concerned about a Council having total control over a city manager. I strongly believe in the government that John Adams (my hero) set up for us — one that has checks and balances. I like the idea of transparency and accountability to the citizens by both the Council and the Mayor. Unlike you, at this point, I do not believe the majority of the Council represents my household. However, even if it did, I would still want a Mayor to is accountable to the people. I suspect that we will disagree about this however, I value your input.

  8. I think that all the citizens of Edmonds should also do their own research on this topic. It took me only 5 minutes to find out that other cities who have the Council-Manager form of Government are questioning whether this is really what they want.
    Some of the issues are the City Manager doesn’t live in the city so they do not have a vested interest in nor vision for the city.
    • They need to be highly paid or they will leave for a city that will pay them more.
    • There is no accountability to the citizens, as they are hired by the council.
    • Citizens concerns are not being heard, nor acted on.
    • Councils that are in conflict have no leader to guide them.
    • Lastly; Who will represent our city to other levels of government and with other cities?
    Personally I prefer to elect the people who run our city, so if they do not live up to my expectations I can vote them out.

  9. Mr. Martin,
    Can you put these words together in a coherent fashion please? Your rant is lacking cohesion this time, as well as its usual ad hominem logical fallacies and overuse of the caps button:

    The Mayor spends much of his time legislating using his ability to control the City Council currently with only Wilson and Peterson to do his bidding.

    Thank you.

  10. I think it all boils down to one thing: The mayor is answerable to the citizens & a manager is answerable to a majority of the council & would be afraid of ticking them off & losing his job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.