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King County Elections

King County Local Voters Pamphlet
November 6, 2001 General Election

City of SeaTac Proposition No. 1



Shall the City of SeaTac abandon its present Council-Manager plan of government under which it currently operates under RCW 35A.13 and adopt in its place the Mayor-Council plan of government under the provisions of RCW 35A.12?

Approved __   Rejected __


The City of SeaTac is authorized by state law to be governed under one of two plans of government. SeaTac now operates under the Council-Manager plan. If approved, this proposition would change the plan of government to the Mayor-Council plan.

Pursuant to RCW 35A.13, the Council-Manager plan of government, now in effect, consists of an elected city council which is the legislative body of the city. The council appoints the city manager who is the chief executive officer of the city government. The councilmembers choose a chairperson from among their number who has the title of mayor and who presides at meetings of the council and is recognized as the head of the city for ceremonial purposes.

Pursuant to RCW 35A.12, the government of a city which adopts the Mayor-Council plan is vested in an elected mayor and an elected city council. The council is the legislative body of the city. The mayor is the chief executive officer and is the ceremonial head of the city. The mayor may appoint a chief administrative officer. The mayor also presides at council meetings, but with a vote only in the case of a tie, and with right of veto, subject to override by a majority of the councilmembers plus one.

A "Yes" vote is in favor of changing to the Mayor-Council plan of government.

A "No" vote is against the change and favors retention of the existing Council- Manager plan.


Out of 275 cities and towns, 226 (82%) operate under the Mayor Council form of government. We would take it a step further. The real plus is that an elected Mayor is someone who lives in our city and knows the problems; therefore they have a better answer for righting the wrong. Allow the voters to elect a Mayor and then hire a Chief Administrative Officer to serve under the Mayor. Then we have a high Profile Mayor Who can focus on policy direction and political leadership, as well as a CAO for administrative details. There is a separation of power between executive and legislative branches. This provides a healthy independence and the best opportunity for debate and consensus building. A skilled administrator can minimize an elected Mayor’s background, yet the Mayor is fully responsible.


SeaTac success is due to location, not City/managers. Airport parking slots run the engines. We need our city to run like a business. If airlines and parking revenues are down then so will ours. We are comfortable with a Chief Administrative Officer who serves under an elected Mayor. Best of both worlds. CAO for daily operations, an elected Mayor with a seat at the table where decisions are made on our behalf. VOTE YES.

STATEMENT PREPARED BY: Frank Hughes, Tony Scoccolo, Mary Hoey


SeaTac is one of the most successful cities in Washington and it was incorporated with a Council-Manager form of government for good reason. An identical proposal for change of government was soundly defeated in 1996.

It is increasingly clear that the complexity of dealing with the Airport, other cities, King County, and State and Federal laws and regulatory agencies requires a professional City Manager, not a politician Mayor. Our elected City Council competently makes budget and policy decisions. The Council is able to search the entire nation to hire the most qualified City Manager possible (the Mayor must reside in the City). A City Manager who is appointed by our Council is unlikely to have political obligations or abuse the authority granted by the Council.

Without an elected Mayor during the past twelve years, our City has been able to enjoy a balanced budget, quality Police and Fire protection, a forward looking transportation plan which benefits us all, and a great Park System. While doing this, we have reduced the City portion of your property tax rate. Please vote “NO” and retain our Council-Manager form of government.


More than 80% of this states Mayor-Council cities (182 of 226) have populations less than 5000. Our City has 25,000 residents, 40,000 employees and 27,000,000 annual visitors. The interactions of our City are very complex, and are best addressed by a professional, non-political Administrator. During this time of economic uncertainty it makes little sense to add the extra cost of a full time elected Mayor when the system we have is working so well.

STATEMENT PREPARED BY: Don DeHan, Patricia Carter, Carolyn Cloutier


NOTE: The Division of Records and Elections is not authorized to edit statements, nor is it responsible for their contents.

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