As the President of the League of Women Voters of Yakima County, I am compelled to address the recent discussions surrounding the potential shift to a strong mayor form of government in our city. It is crucial to consider the implications of such a transition in light of our organization’s long-standing position on forms of city government.

Since 1979, the League of Women Voters of Yakima County has championed the city manager-council form of city government. This position, developed through extensive study and consensus-building efforts, reflects our commitment to principles of representation, accountability, transparency, citizen participation, and efficient service delivery.

The city manager-council form of government, as endorsed by the League, ensures that the needs of all residents are represented and addressed. Under this model, a professional city manager is hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of the city, working collaboratively with the elected city council to implement policies and initiatives that serve the best interests of the community.

There are several compelling reasons why the city manager-council form of government aligns with our organization’s imperatives:

  • Representation and Responsiveness: A city manager-council system ensures that government decisions are made by elected officials who are directly accountable to the citizens they serve, rather than concentrating power in the hands of a single elected official.
  • Accountability and Transparency: By providing a clear separation of powers between elected officials and professional city staff, the city manager-council model fosters accountability and transparency in government operations. This separation minimizes the potential for conflicts of interest and ensures that decision-making processes are conducted openly and with public input.
  • Citizen Participation: The city manager-council form of government encourages citizen participation by providing opportunities for engagement in the policymaking process. Through public hearings, advisory committees, and other mechanisms, residents can actively contribute to the development and implementation of policies that affect their lives.
  • Efficiency and Economy: By entrusting the day-to-day management of city affairs to a professional city manager, the city manager-council model promotes efficiency and economy in service delivery. City managers bring expertise in municipal administration and resource management, enabling them to effectively allocate resources and streamline operations to meet the needs of the community.

In light of these considerations, the League of Women Voters of Yakima County reaffirms our support for the city manager-council form of city government. We believe that this model best embodies the principles of representative democracy and effective governance, ensuring that our city remains responsive, accountable, and inclusive for all residents.

Lee Murdock, President
League of Women Voters of Yakima County