Langley City Council takes step to create new administration position

Langley is a step closer to codifying a position that would alter the city’s administrative structure

The city of Langley is one step closer to codifying a new staff position that would alter the city’s administrative structure.

During a meeting Monday night, the majority of the city council approved an ordinance that calls for the structure of a position that combines the role of city administrator with the duties of the clerk.

The recommendation has been handed down by Langley’s citizen-led Finance and Personnel Commission, which has convened for nearly a year.

The topic of hiring a city administrator was first introduced by Chris Carlson, chairperson of the committee, in October. Staff members had countless questions about the new position then, which Carlson said have since been answered.

Four out of five council members found no fault in the city lawyer-approved ordinance presented by Carlson Monday night. Councilmember Thomas Gill, however, took issue with the word “shall” in the opening paragraph of the new code, saying that he didn’t think it was within the power of the council or the finance commission to demand that a new position be created.

“This should be an optional position as there have been, and there are, mayors who’ve run this city without the need of any sort of assistance,” he said.

Carlson disagreed.

“It is a position that the city council can create, like all the other positions that are in the Langley Municipal Code, and it is up to the city council to appropriate funds to pay for it,” he said.

Gill countered that the administrative branch of the city is the sole purview of the mayor, not the legislative body. While he agreed that the council can approve the use of funds to hire someone for the job, he also said the council cannot force the hiring of the position.

He suggested changing the word “shall” to “may” in order to make the code more palatable.

His fellow council members, however, said they supported the ordinance in its current form, and voted 4-1 to move it forward. Gill voted in opposition.