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The Council and the Mayor: Who’s Responsible for What?

by on 07/11/2011

What are the duties of the City Council (Council), and what are the duties of the Mayor?

The Council’s job is to provide direction by considering, debating, and passing ordinances and the comprehensive plan and its elements, for the city. The Mayor’s job is to manage our City’s staff for quality and efficiency of services.

Is it ever appropriate for the Council to oversee the Mayor’s responsibilities?

If the Mayor asks the Council for a tax levy, then the Council should question whether our citizens’ tax money is being spent most efficiently. By asking for an increase in taxes, the Mayor is stating that we do not have sufficient revenue to provide quality services to the citizens of Edmonds. He is also stating that expenses — the spending of the citizens of Edmonds’ money — are being handled as efficiently as possible. Before the Council asks the citizens of Edmonds to give the Mayor more money to spend on staff and contractors, the Mayor should have to give sufficient evidence that he or she is not spending more than necessary.

Do you, as a candidate for City Council, believe that the Mayor is not spending citizens’ money as efficiently as possible?

The current Mayor inherited a difficult situation. The economic downturn has resulted in less of Edmonds citizens’ money — primarily in the form of sales and property taxes — being collected by the City Government. There is less revenue to pay staff and contractors for services. At the same time, not enough has been done to reign in expenses in response to the economic downturn. In hard times, it’s not too much to ask those who are not just getting by to sacrifice a bit. At this time, should we be asking for more citizens’ money to spend on raises for current City staff?

The Mayor, the candidate for Mayor, and some current Council members have been defending City employees. They’re saying that City staff is doing a great job. You disagree?

Completely irrelevant. No one’s attacking the quality and work of City staff. I have concerns and questions about the efficiency of how City staff and contractors are being used. With far less development going on in Edmonds, why have staffing levels in Development Services (responsible for planning, code enforcement, and building), for example, remained unchanged? Why is staff time being used to process the ESC associates contract rezone application that asks for heights on an earthquake liquefaction zone which, by our own code, cannot be built?

Again, the quality and efficiency of staff is the Mayor’s responsibilty. But when the Mayor asks for more money from Edmonds citizens’, that is, asks the Council to create a tax levy, then it’s the Council’s responsibility to question that need.

From → Edmonds

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