I was asked my opinion about Port Orchard’s Proposition No. 1 ballot measure. Before responding, I contacted the Association for Washington Cities, the Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials, and many others. I reviewed the Revised Code of Washington Council-Manager Plan (RCW 35.18).
What is at stake? The loss of a check and balance between the mayor (executive) and the council (legislative). With a council-manager form of government, the council has all the power and a simple majority runs the show. It remains to be seen how responsive they are to their citizens.
What is the cost? On Bainbridge Island where they changed to a council-manager form of government, the council spent $235,000 for the search and hiring of an interim city manager, and the initial costs of converting to a new form of government. City manager, deputy city manager and executive assistant salaries totaled $326,064, not including benefits.
Will a Port Orchard city manager have a deputy and/or an executive assistant? Hard to say, but the citizens will not have a vote in the matter.
According to RCW 35.18.110, the city manager doesn't have to live in the city (the elected mayor is required to live in the city) and RCW 35.18.070 states a city manager may serve two or more cities.
Does this sound like a good idea? Please, do your research and know the facts!
Linda Simpson | Bremerton