Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

Letter: November election


October 18, 2017

The November election Voter's Pamphlet has just arrived and it will soon be time to decide for whom to vote in the three city council positions up for election.

I wanted to take the time to share my opinions on what the job of a councilmember is (and isn't) in the hopes it will help people decide how to vote.

I think the essential job of a councilmember is to make choices based on what is in the overall best interest of the City, and the quality of life its' citizens have come to rely on and expect.

Deciding how to make those choices is what makes the job challenging and fascinating.

There are several qualities that are important for anyone to be an effective councilmember. Some of these are the ability to ask questions, listen to, understand and accept new information, and, at times, let go of or modify one's personal preferences.

The least responsible way to approach the job is to announce a specific agenda without understanding the complexity and consequences of it.

The job requires patience. Government, by design and demand, moves slowly. The information gathering process may take a long time; there are constituencies and points of view that need to be heard and considered. It is process driven. There is often a prescribed time frame and sequence involving public hearings, for instance, that mean a decision can take months. This can be frustrating. It is not a business where a CEO independently makes decisions.

The job requires what are often called people skills. This would be the ability to listen to others with respect and to take their comments seriously. Discussions and debates should be about the idea or concept and not about personality, motive, or marital status. We make better decisions when we are respectful of each other.

It is important to recognize the dedication, integrity and competence of City staff. They work hard to implement Council actions, and to provide council with information that is used to make decisions.

It is City staff, after all, that makes the City work and who provide the services upon which our citizens depend.

The job requires, and will teach, humility. No one will win all the votes. It makes the job harder for those who can't get over losing. Or winning. Everyone will still have to work collaboratively with each other.

In short, an effective councilmember is curious, open-minded, patient, thoughtful, respectful and gracious.

The three candidates I think are best suited for this job are Mukilteo City Council President Bob Champion, Sarah Kneller, and Anna Rohrbaugh.

Richard Emery

Mukilteo councilmember


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