Washougal appoints government-change panels

Members will write pro, con statements for ballot

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

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WASHOUGAL — The Washougal City Council on Monday appointed members to two committees tasked with preparing statements for and against a proposition to change the city's form of government.

The council appointed Jeff Guard, Larry White and Marilyn Tyrell to write the statement opposed to the proposition. The statement will appear in the general election voters' pamphlet. Councilmembers Brent Boger, Jennifer McDaniel and Joyce Lindsay will write the supporting statement, which would change the form of government to a manager-council form with a weak mayor.

The city received four applications to write statements opposing the proposition. By law, three people can sit on a committee. Former mayor Les Sonneson, who couldn't attend Monday's meeting, was the fourth applicant.

Boger, a top proponent for the change in government, said it would make sense if Mayor Sean Guard took the lead on appointing a committee to write an opposing statement because he was also against the proposition.

"Your premise is wrong," Guard said in response. "I never said I opposed the proposition."

Guard said he opposed how councilmembers have handled the situation. The council unanimously approved last month taking the proposition to voters.

Jeff Guard, a former mayor and brother of Sean Guard, said he wanted Sonneson on the committee, pointing to how he'd "forgotten more than I even know" about the city. The committee may still consult with Sonneson, however.

Both committees will have until Aug. 15 to write statements for and against the proposition.

It will appear on Washougal residents' Nov. 5 general election ballots and would change the form of government to a manager-council form, with a weak mayor. A city manager would be the top administrator under that system.

Under Washougal's current form of government, the mayor is the top administrator. City Administrator David Scott reports directly to the mayor.

Tyler Graf: 360-735-4517; http://www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; tyler.graf@columbian.com