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Proposition 1

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What is Proposition 1?
Proposition 1 is a City of Shelton ballot measure for the November 7, 2017 general election. It allows voters to decide whether to change Shelton’s form of government from city commission to council-manager.

If a majority votes yes, the city will replace the commission form of government with the council-manager structure.

Why is Proposition 1 on the ballot?
In July, a citizen petition calling for a change to council-manager was submitted to the Mason County Elections Office. The county determined the petition contained the number of signatures required by Washington State law; accordingly, the proposition was put on the ballot.

What is the council-manager form of government? (Proposed Form)
In a council-manager city, the elected legislature consists of a seven-member council, which is responsible for policymaking. Each councilmember is elected to serve a four-year term.

Every two years, the councilmembers appoint one member of the council as mayor. The mayor serves as the presiding officer at council meeting, and the ceremonial leader of the city. The mayor has no executive or administrative authority.

The council appoints a professional city manager who is responsible for administration, including the daily operations of city government, personnel functions, and preparing the city budget. The city manager is directly accountable to and can be removed by a majority vote of the council at any time.

How many Washington cities currently have the council-manager form of government?
In Washington State, 52 cities currently have the council-manager form of government. Shelton is the last city in Washington State with the commission form of government.

What is the commission form of government? (Current Form)
In a commission city, the elected legislature is made up of three commissioners assigned to specific departments: Public Safety, Public Works, and Finance.

The commissioner of public safety serves as the mayor. The mayor is the presiding officer at commission meetings, but has no executive or administrative authority outside the area of public safety. 

The commission appoints a city administrator to implement policy set by the commission, and manage the city’s daily operations.

If Prop 1 passes, how will Shelton transition to a council-manager city?
If Proposition 1 passes, the three sitting commissioners will keep their seats and become councilmembers. The commission will call for an election to fill the four additional council seats. Interested citizens must announce their candidacy according to the rules established by the Washington Secretary of State and Mason County Auditor. A primary election will be held if more than two candidates run for any one seat. Once the four new councilmembers have been elected, Shelton will officially become a council-manager city.

If Prop1 passes, will anything else about Shelton’s government change?
If Proposition 1 passes, Shelton will continue to be a code city, which operates under Title 35A RCW, a specific set of laws established by the Washington State Legislature. The city council will first need to update the Shelton Municipal Code to reflect the change in government. The council will then have authority to implement other changes to the city’s municipal code – including regulations governing revenue, utilities, and land development – as long as the municipal code remains consistent with Washington State law.

Where can I find more information on forms of city government in Washington?
The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) has an excellent page on municipal forms of government in Washington State:

How Proposition 1 will appear on the November 7th Ballot:

Mason County General Election
City of Shelton Proposition No. 1
Whether to Adopt the Council/Manager Form of Government

Ballot Title: The Shelton City Commission passed Resolution No. 1105-0717 to allow voters to decide whether the City should change its form of government.

Shall the City of Shelton abandon the Commission form of government and adopt the Council/Manager form of government?

Yes _____

No  _____

Explanatory Statement: The City of Shelton has a Commission form of government in which legislative powers are exercised by three Commissioners. A citizen petition was filed to compel an election on whether to change the form of government to Council/Manager. Under the Council/Manager form, legislative powers are exercised by a seven-member council, and an appointed City Manager is the Chief Executive Officer. If Proposition 1 is approved, a separate election will be held to elect Councilmembers.