If the first Edmonds City Council meeting of 2016 was any indication, councilmembers and council watchers alike may have a little more time on their hands Tuesday evenings.
Despite what appeared to be a full agenda that included the swearing in of five newly-elected — or re-elected — councilmembers and the mayor, the 7 p.m. meeting was adjourned in one-and-a-half hours. (That even included a lengthy discussion on proposed changes to the city’s non-represented compensation policy.) For reference, during the past several years meetings have generally lasted until at least 10 p.m.
The council also elected a new city council president, Kristiana Johnson, by a 4-3 vote; the other nominee was Tom Mesaros, who was elected council president pro tem. (Johnson had served as council president pro tem last year.) And councilmembers and Mayor Dave Earling took time to thank 2015 Council President Adrienne Fraley-Monillas for her year of service.
In addition to Earling, those sworn in included Councilmembers Mesaros, Diane Buckshnis, Mike Nelson, Dave Teitzel and Neil Tibbott. Of those, Earling, Buckshis and Mesaros all ran unopposed; Nelson — appointed to the vacancy left when Strom Peterson was elected to the state Legislature- defeated Alvin Rutledge, Tibbott unseated incumbent Councilmember Lora Petso and Teitzel defeated opponent Alicia Crank in a race for an open seat vacated by Joan Bloom).
The council approved resolutions reappointing two members to represent Edmonds on outside boards and commissions: Fraley-Monillas to the Snohomish County Health District Board and Earling was reappointed to the Community Transit Board. Johnson delayed the other appointments until next week.
The discussion regarding the compensation policy focused on which set of “comparator cities” should be used to develop its pay rates for non-represented employees — all cities with plus/minus 10,000 population from Edmonds. Current policy, approved in 2012, used comparator cities from Snohomish, King, Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston Counties; Tuesday’s council action — approved by a 4-3 vote — removes Kitsap County from the list and includes:
In other action, the council:
– Amended and renewed an interlocal agreement with City of Mill Creek for a shared Domestic Violence Coordinator. Due to additional funds in the 2016 City of Edmonds budget, the police department was able to increase Edmonds’ share of the coordinator’s time from 12 to 19 hours.
– Approved a services agreement with Sorenson Forensics, LLC for Biological Screening and DNA Testing Services, which Edmonds police use for analysis of evidence for property crimes. The city since 2010 has been using the services of Orchid Cellmark (now Bode Cellmark) but decided to move to Sorenson Forensics because that is the company used by the Washington State Patrol. DNA evidence has become an important part of police investigations and is key to the department’s efforts in solving property crimes such as burglary and auto theft, the department noted.
– Authorized the mayor to execute a contract with Dimensional Communications, Inc. to add a $20,000 contingency fee to an already-approved $195,000 audiovisual upgrade project for the council chambers, which also serves as the Edmonds Municipal Courtroom. “It can’t come too soon for us,” said Fraley-Monillas in moving to approve the project. Council and court officials have struggled for years with malfunctioning microphones and other equipment in the chambers. Among the planned improvements: a new audio system, new projectors and screens including individual screens for each councilmember to view presentations, and an electronic system for tracking councilmembers’ votes.
As the meeting drew to a close with councilmember comments Tuesday night, Teitzel and Tibbott offered thanks — to those who put them in office and to fellow councilmembers for helping them transition during recent weeks to their new role. “I’d like to thank the voters for placing their trust in me,” Teitzel said. “I’m looking forward to a great year,” Tibbott added.
New Council President Johnson said, tongue-in-cheek, that she would take credit for the quick meeting. Quipped Earling: “I don’t care who gets the credit, but the meeting is adjourned at 8:29.”