Discussion continues on city’s form of government

A representative from the Muncipal Research and Service Center is scheduled to attend the Tuesday, Feb. 19, work session of the Port Orchard City Council.

According to City Clerk Brandy Rinearson, MRSC attorney Pat Mason is slated to attend the workshop and discuss the process, pros and cons of changing into a code city and/or city manager form of government.

At last month’s work session, the issue of change the City’s form of government was a top of discussion.

Councilman Rob Putaansuu said this is an election year and November would be good to bring the matter before the voters. He said since the city has grown from 8,000 to 10,000 residents, it may be time to look at “professional management in the from of a city manager.”

“Before we put it on the ballot in November, I think we need to do some homework on what it’s going to look like, ask the city attorney to see what options there are,” Putaansuu said.

Pataansuu said there are other cities — Gig Harbor, Port Townsend and Bainbridge Island — that have changed their form of city government to a council-manager.

He said there could be one or two ballot measures on the ballot.

“One measure could encompass if residents want a code city and form of city government the council decides to pursue,” he said.

City Attorney Greg Jacoby said the council must pass a resolution or ordinance stating the council wants reorganization of city government, reclassification of the city, or both on the ballot.

“It the city switches to a council-manager form of government, every council member has to run for re-election within 90 days of the November election,” said Jacoby. “The city would have to hold a special primary election in the spring, then a general election to elect new council members.”

“Half of us are up for election anyways,” said Putaansuu.

Councilman Jerry Childs said the council knows it will cost money to hold an election, but he also added that public hearings have been held on the issue without any negative response for residents — other than a citizen’s group wanted on the ballot.

Mayor Tim Matthes said it would cost in staff time and that the issue was not on the list of short-term goals for the city.


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