Council left a mess for voters | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
May 9, 2011 · 8:18 AM
To the editor:
People who live on the South End and voters in Langley are facing yet another city council-imposed dilemma. There is an election in the fall for three council positions and the mayor. Both issues are serious challenges for candidates and voters.
To run for mayor, candidates face the nuttiness enacted by the council in ’08.
The salary for the incumbent Mayor Paul Samuelson ($50K range plus benefits) will revert to the salary that was in place when he was elected: $21K.
In addition to the salary issue, mayoral candidates must present a plan of administration (POA) that addresses city departments. It will need to be approved by the city council within 90 days of taking office.
There is no definition of POA in the code, nor is there any guideline for evaluation of a POA. The newly elected mayor will take office and present a plan after he or she is elected. He/she can also amend that POA once it’s in place. (The mayor may submit proposed amendments to any POA adopted by the city council.)
Incidentally, there is nothing to prohibit a newly elected mayor from playing the same cards that got the current mayoral salary doubled plus.
Just exactly what will the mayor do during the first 90 days in city hall?
Does any of this make sense to voters? We’re used to voting for a person who informs us of their plans — before we vote.
In the scenario we have now, candidates may run against one another based on their intent to take the reduced salary or offer to take no salary at all or donate the salary to the city.
This might be an incentive for voters to vote for a particular candidate — the one who wants the least amount of money or perhaps no money at all. Should that be the deciding factor in picking the mayor?
Was this Gilman-led voter/candidate knot intended to motivate us to choose the council-manager form of government?
Many often say they can’t understand how our little city’s government can be so complicated.
The answer is pretty obvious. Let’s all wake up and stay that way — the mayoral election knot just gets tighter now that there’s also a voter choice about changing to a city manager. Another very expensive option, in my opinion.