It may be too early to tell whether voters will support the proposition, said Councilwoman Jennifer McDaniel, a member of the pro-proposition committee. She said she will actively work to drum up support for what’s known as Proposition 1.
Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay, chairwoman of the pro-proposition committee, said she plans to distribute 2,000 brochures. The committee is raising money through a new political action committee called Washougal First.
“It’s going to be a very aggressive campaign,” Lindsay said.
The proposal would change the city’s top administrator from an elected mayor to an appointed city manager. Supporters say it would create more professional oversight of city business, while opponents argue it would create less accountability and dissolve checks and balances. Washougal has operated with a city administrator who reports to the mayor for a decade.
Earlier in the month, the city convened a special meeting to form committees to write statements for and against the proposition. The pro-proposition committee is composed of city councilors Lindsay, Brent Boger and McDaniel. The anti-proposition committee is made up of Marilyn Tyrrell, Larry White and former mayor Jeff Guard.
Arguments in the statements provided to the elections office are similar to ones that have been made since the issue of changing the form of government arose in June.
The statement against Proposition 1 says the “timing of the issue is suspect” and that a city manager would not “be accountable to the voters.”
“The Mayor is elected, accountable and accessible to the citizenry,” the statement reads. “Having an elected mayor provides a check and balance to council. He or she is the leader of our community.”
The statement in favor of Proposition 1 points out that Washougal’s mayor is responsible for a $36 million budget and between 80 and 100 employees but there are “no educational or managerial experience requirements to be mayor.”
“The mayor will be elected from the council to provide political leadership,” the pro-proposition statement reads. “In case of misconduct, council can remove the city manager at any time.”
Tyler Graf: 360-735-4517; http://twitter.com/col_smallcities; firstname.lastname@example.org