Home Local Government How a Council-Manager Form of Government, Like Burien, is Meant to Work

How a Council-Manager Form of Government, Like Burien, is Meant to Work

By Citizen Contributor

The Job of a Council member-The principal job of a city or town council is to set policy. A policy is a course of action for a community. Policymaking often takes the form of passing ordinances

or resolutions. After the legislative body/city council makes policy decisions, others perform the administrative task of implementing the policies. .https://wacities.org/docs/default-source/resources/mayorcouncilmemberhandbook.pdf?sfvrsn=247f5a4f_7

Council members are bound by an oath of office and typically a set of rules of order or handbook they have developed. It is important to note that the council must prioritize the needs of the city first over the requests and interests of individuals or groups they attempt to represent.

A City Manager, or City Administrator, carries out the city council’s decisions and oversees all city employees. Their duties include executing policies, budget management, and supervising personnel… https://www.indeed.com/hire/job-description/city-manager.

For example, Burien’s current homelessness dilemma is an important part of the City Manager’s definition to focus on: the City Manager carries out the City Council’s decisions. That means that the Council has to make a decision. In this situation that has arisen with the homeless in Burien, the Council majority has decided not to allow unlawful camping on city public property. Because of a split in ideology between two distinct council groups, the Garcia, Cydney Moore, and Sarah Moore group vs. the Aragon, Matta, Mora, and Schilling group, the Council has not decided whether or not to develop a shelter. Burien does not have the money to develop and maintain a shelter. This is not the fault of the City Manager, as several trolls and a media page impersonator have been allowed to falsely promote on this alleged city journalistic site. This false information needs to stop! The city and the Council members need to call it out for what it is: unethical and false!

What further intensifies the council divide is that the Garcia, Cydney Moore and Sarah Moore group refuse to play by the Burien Council’s Code of Conduct (which they helped to develop but now refuse to follow), the Council Rules of Civility (which they have refused to sign), the Burien Code of Ethics (which all city staff members as well as elected and volunteer members of boards and commissions must follow) and the Handbook of Commissions and Committees. These Council members simply refuse to operate using the rules! Further, they have violated their oaths of office, are practicing partisan politics, and continue not wanting to operate within the budget, which council members must do. They have not been willing to protect public safety—their first responsibility.  

Additionally, Burien has a serious problem with some Council members, ex-Council members, Committee and Commission members, some individuals/ groups commenting to the Council, aspiring electeds, a major city media source, and local media gossip sites putting out false information to the public. They tolerate known trolls, (flaming and profiles and pages that impersonate other people and go against the Community Standards of Facebook, etc.).

Rather than fact-checking this information, some Council members repeat this false information from the dais and further confuse the public. Ethical Council members and alleged ethical, journalistic source owners are responsible for fact-checking and putting out valid information.

There are three ways to resolve the stalemate they have created:

 (1) a recall against some electeds, which is very expensive and time-consuming; (2) censure some of the electeds for failure to follow the rules and act in good faith; (3) hope the voters elect someone else to their positions before they cause too much damage to the city. The problem is with the Council and not the City Manager, as he has worked to carry out the city council’s decisions when they make them. Some Council members have created a further dilemma by appointing members to their Commissions and Commissions who also don’t or won’t follow the rules.

Under state law, the city of Burien has no obligation to provide Human Services; the city must provide for public safety, a balanced budget, maintain infrastructure, and comply with all other required county, state, and federal laws. The desire by this group of three to be political activists rather than council members and their lack of budgeting skills is what is destroying the city. While these three council members may have been leaders and activists in their “pet project” groups prior to being elected, they must now put the city of Burien first. Council decisions should be driven by actual, visible, reputable, documented research, data, and facts presented to them and not some alleged report or letter that they have never seen and that some council commenter claims everyone knows about but can’t provide.

Please operate on facts, accepted city procedures, and the oath you have taken.

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