Voters will decide this fall if Lynnwood should change its form of government.
Monday night the City Council passed a resolution to place a measure on the Nov. 8 ballot that would ask voters if they want to change from a council-mayor to a council-city manager form of government.
Under the current council-mayor form of government, the mayor is elected and can hire or fire department heads. Under a city manager model, an administrative manager is hired by the City Council.
“I think ultimately this resolution will boil down to one question: ‘do we want the most qualified individual running the city?’. The city manager approach should provide the most credentialed and experienced individual to run the city,” said Councilmember Ed dos Remedios.
Some councilmembers have blamed Mayor Don Gough for the city’s massive budget shortfall. Last year they voted six-to-one to ask him to resign after claims that he created a hostile workplace.
“I do believe that regardless of the form of government, all elected and administrative officials should demonstrate professional competence, sound character and credibility at all times. I’m sad to say that too often that has not been the case.” said Councilmember Loren Simmonds.
Council President Mark Smith questioned whether there was widespread support for putting this issue on the ballot.
“This is a very big deal. And for the council to vote to put this on the ballot without having more support from the citizens and residents of Lynnwood; I find the whole process very, very troubling,” he said.
Without approval from the Council, the only other way for the measure to get on the ballot would be a petition with at least 750 valid signatures. Mark Smith favored that option. He and Councilmember Ted Hikel were the only two who voted against the resolution.
Councilmembers decided to put this question on the ballot in November rather than February so they could share the election costs with other entities.