The Yakima City Council meeting tonight (Nov. 19) should determine whether Yakima voters will have an opportunity to change the city's form of government this coming February from a council-manager system to a council-elected mayor system. A common term often used to describe the elected mayor system is "strong mayor," but regardless of the name, the proposed system allows for a few major changes from the current system.
The City Council's job is to set city policy and to hire a city manager whose job it is to carry out the council policies and run the day to day operations of the city. The city manager, working as the administrator, works at the pleasure of the council.
Under the current system, the city also has a mayor but that individual is not chosen by the voters but is elected from within the members of the council. The mayor's job is primarily ceremonial and to run council meetings.
Under an elected mayor system the council is still the policy setting and legislative body for the city. However the elected mayor is now the day-to-day administrator of city affairs.
Proponents of the change say the advantage of such a system is that it gives residents the final say in who it is that does the daily job of running the city.
Former Yakima City Councilman and former Mayor Dave Edler is a longtime proponent of a change. He was on KIT's Morning News radio show to explain his support for the change and to encourage the community to turn out for tonight's meeting.