Proposal to Remove Yakima City Council Members Who Do Not Attend Meetings Passes Voters | Elections


Earlier this year, Yakima City Council unanimously backed a proposal to remove a council member for not attending meetings. Now the question is in the hands of the voters.

The amendment targets council member Jason White, who missed more than a year of meetings from June 2020 to July 2021. During his absence, he continued to receive the city’s monthly allowance of $ 1,075.

In his first return meeting, White supported adding the charter amendment to the ballot. Since the July 6 meeting, he has attended two regular meetings and missed three consecutive regular meetings.

The amendment would allow city council to declare a seat vacant if a council member does not attend three consecutive regular meetings or six or more regular meetings in a calendar year without being excused.

The remaining council members would select and approve a qualified person from the appropriate district to temporarily fill the vacant seat until the next general election, the proposed amendment says. In the next general election, one person would be elected for the remainder of the term or the next full term, he says.

State law allows local councils to impose penalties for absence. Currently, there is no attendance requirement for Yakima City Council members.

Yakima residents Daylene Ackerman and Janet Sedy oppose the seat being temporarily occupied by someone chosen by other council members, they said in a statement against the amendment.

“It would void the vote of people living in the removed member’s constituency,” Ackerman and Sedy said in the statement.

They argued that voters should be the ones who decide who represents the district by eliminating a member or through a process of removal. Ackerman and Sedy said a fine, not a revocation, would be appropriate for requiring board members to attend meetings.

Yakima residents G. David Lambertson and Derek Lape, who made a statement in support of the amendment, said voter representation was the premise of the requirement. The change would allow the board to discipline members who voluntarily choose not to attend meetings, they said.

“Although vacancies are filled by a council vote, this will ensure voter representation until the people are re-elected,” Lambertson and Lape said.

Voters can vote yes to approve the attendance requirement on city council or vote no to reject it.

Revise the charter

It would amend the articles relating to special meetings, the purchase of supplies, credits, charter changes and public service.

The proposal would include the following changes:

  • Special meetings would be called at the request of the mayor or the majority of council upon written request, no longer allowing only two members to request a special meeting.
  • No final decision would be made by the board at a special meeting on any matter except those indicated in the notice of meeting, eliminating the possibility for members to consent to the consideration of an additional matter. .
  • Residents, not specifically citizens, could be heard at meetings.
  • A unanimous vote of council members present at the meeting, and not a unanimous vote of all council members, would be required to pass emergency ordinances.
  • An increase in the monetary limit for the purchase of supplies would require a two-thirds majority of board members present at the meeting, not a two-thirds majority of all board members.
  • The proposed charter amendments, not a special election to amend the charter, would be called by council. The amendments would be submitted to voters in the next general municipal election.
  • A qualified candidate for a post in the public service would not be discriminated against on the basis of their sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, mental or physical disability or military status. These protections are in addition to current protections: race, color, religion, national origin, affiliation or political belief.

Residents of Yakima Ackerman and Sedy made a statement opposing the amendment. Both said the changes allow fewer council members to vote and pass the proposed ordinances. Ackerman and Sedy also opposed changing the language from “citizen” to “resident” regarding public input.

No statement of support for this charter amendment has been submitted by the volunteers.

Voters can vote yes to approve the changes or vote no to reject the changes.

Prohibition of local income tax

The city charter currently allows any tax to pass with qualified majority approval of five council members.

The amendment would prohibit the council from imposing an income tax on wages, salaries, investments or the sale of goods or services, the amendment says. It would not prevent the city council from imposing a local tax on real or personal property or a tax increase through a hoist.

Yakima residents Bruce Smith, Chris Corry and Lambertson made statements supporting the amendment. The statement said the change would prevent the imposition of a local income tax in Yakima. The statement said an income tax is being considered in Olympia and a similar tax may be considered in other cities in Washington in the future.

The volunteers did not make a statement against the amendment.

Voters can vote yes to ban the imposition of a local income tax in the future, or vote no to leave council tax limitations unchanged.


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