New form of government could be coming to Mukilteo
Last updated 2/27/2019 at Noon
The structure of Mukilteo’s government may be getting a shakeup in the near future as councilmembers have discussed whether the city should revert to having a part-time mayor, or whether a paid city manager should run the city.
Mukilteo operates in a mayor-council form of government, with Mayor Jennifer Gregerson serving in a full-time role with seven elected city councilmembers helping create policy while managing the city’s budget. All elected positions are four-year terms.
The mayor position is currently full time, but was a part-time position for nearly all of Mukilteo’s history.
Former mayor Joe Marine asked for, and received, a significant pay raise in 2009, saying he was serving in a full-time role rather than a part-time role, and deserved to be compensated for it. Since then, the mayor position has remained full time.
The city has also used a city administrator/management services director to help run the day-to-day operations of the city. It is not an elected position, and is the highest paid position in the city.
Steve Edin was the city’s management services director from April 2017 to January 2019, and made roughly $10,000 per month.
Edin submitted his resignation in December, and Finance Director Michelle Meyer is currently splitting the duties of that role with Gregerson, Gregerson said at the Feb. 18 City Council meeting.
The council had previously discussed the future of the position in January, with some councilmembers asking when the position would be filled in both the temporary and the future, and Councilmember Whelpley even suggested that they remove the position entirely so Gregerson can run the city on her own, saving the city money in the process.
At the Feb. 18 meeting, Gregerson showed her plan to fill the position, which would result in hiring a temporary position starting in April and culminate in the hiring of a permanent city administrator at the beginning of 2020.
This kick-started a conversation about the future of the city’s government structure.
Whelpley said some cities in the area have a budget twice as large as Mukilteo’s, with far less employees, and suggested the city maybe change its form of government to that of a either a city manager-council government, or making the mayor position part-time.
Two nearby cities with a city manager-council government are Mountlake Terrace and Mill Creek.
If the council decided to pursue changing the government to a city manager-council government, it would have to be approved by the citizens in a vote.
Council President Christine Cook said she sees the benefits of that type of government, as it would help take the politics out of decision making.
Councilmember Sarah Kneller said she felt split by the idea because she likes the idea of taking politics out of decision making, but feels there’s a value in having a part-time mayor with a set schedule for networking purposes.
In city manager-council forms of government, one councilmember is selected as mayor, similar to how the current city council selects a council president and vice president each year.
Councilmembers agreed to continue the conversation at future meetings.