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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Administrative and Elected Officials

The Oath of Office for Local Elected Officials

The Oath of Office for Local Elected Officials

December 6, 2019 by Sarah Doar
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

This blog post covers the basics of the oath of office for local elected officials, such as when it can be taken, who can administer it, and how it should be worded. 

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You’ve Been Elected; Now What?

You’ve Been Elected; Now What?

November 12, 2019 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Elections , Administrative and Elected Officials

Congratulations on your election! Now, where to start? This blog post reviews the first steps you will need to take and offers links to resources that can help prepare you for the duties ahead. 

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Running for Office? Thinking About It . . .

Running for Office? Thinking About It . . .

April 3, 2019 by Linda Gallagher
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

Whether you would be a first-time candidate or are already an elected official, the decision to run for election or reelection involves many factors. This blog post covers the basics. 

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Balance of Power Struggles in City Government Redux

Balance of Power Struggles in City Government Redux

January 10, 2019 by Flannary Collins
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

With a focus on code and second-class cities, this blog post looks at power struggles that often arise between city staff and elected officials and among elected officials themselves. 

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Salaries for Elected Officials

Salaries for Elected Officials

April 12, 2018 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials , Administrative and Elected Officials-County

This blog discusses how salaries for elected officials are set, how they can be changed, and whether an official can request not to be paid.

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Ten Traits of an Effective Councilmember

Ten Traits of an Effective Councilmember

January 2, 2018 by Jon Mutchler
Category: Legislative Body , Administrative and Elected Officials

In this guest-authored blog post, Ferndale Mayor Jon Mulcher reflects on the traits he has witnessed in his career as a public servant that define truly effective councilmembers.

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Political Speech and Lobbying by Local Government Employees: What are the Rules of Engagement?

Political Speech and Lobbying by Local Government Employees: What are the Rules of Engagement?

April 17, 2017 by Oskar Rey
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

There is a lot going on in politics these days at all levels of government. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, it is important for government employees to know the rules of engagement. While everyone has First Amendment rights, there are certain restrictions on speech and lobbying that apply to employees of local public agencies. This blog post provides an overview of these restrictions. 

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Balance of Power Struggles in City Government

Balance of Power Struggles in City Government

March 6, 2017 by Flannary Collins
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

The balance of power struggles currently playing out in the federal government have me thinking about similar power struggles that can happen between the executive and legislative branches at the city level. This blog will touch on these struggles, providing insight on how to handle common conflicts that arise between the legislative and executive branches of city government.

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Take Advantage of the End of the Year

Take Advantage of the End of the Year

December 1, 2016 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Emergency Management , Administrative and Elected Officials

The end of the year is typically a busy time for local governments, but it also offers opportunities to help orient newly elected officials and to review citywide emergency management plans.

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Getting Your Newly Elected Officials Ready to Hit the Ground Running

Getting Your Newly Elected Officials Ready to Hit the Ground Running

September 15, 2015 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

Every election cycle potentially introduces new members to your policy board or chief executive’s office. You have an opportunity to give the newly elected members of the team a “leg up” so that they can begin their term of office as ready as possible on day one.

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Do Public Employees Lose Their Freedom of Speech?

Do Public Employees Lose Their Freedom of Speech?

February 3, 2015 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

I suspect every local government executive has experienced the situation where an employee unexpectedly steps to the microphone during a public comment period or gets a letter published about a government issue in a local newspaper. When this happens can, or should, the executive prevent an employee from speaking out on issues or take any action against an employee?

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Roles of the Mayor/Manager and the City or Town Council 101: Acquiring Legal Services

July 24, 2014 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

How do local governments obtain legal services?  With county government, it's easy, since the prosecuting attorney provides legal services and prosecuting attorneys are elected officials.  When it comes to cities and towns, though, the answer is not that easy.
The statutes that apply to cities and towns all recognize that legal assistance may be needed.  RCW 35.27.070 provides that a town...

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Can a Local Elected Official Temporarily Live Outside His/Her Jurisdiction and Remain in Office?

November 29, 2012 by Jim Doherty
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

If an elected official temporarily moves out of his or her jurisdiction at some point after being elected, can they still retain their elected position or does the office become vacant? It depends on the facts of the situation.

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Removal of a City Councilmember for Three Consecutive Unexcused Absences

October 10, 2012 by Bob Meinig
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials

You don’t hear about this very often, but it happened last month in Lynnwood when a councilmember was removed from office by a vote of the city council because she had missed three consecutive regular council meetings without being excused for those absences by the council. (She also missed a lot of other meetings.) Removal of a city councilmember from office for this reason is specifically...

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When Is a Resignation by an Elected Official Effective?

September 25, 2012 by Pat Mason
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials , Administrative and Elected Officials-County

We often receive questions regarding when the resignation of an elective official is effective. The basic issue is whether a resignation has to be accepted by the governing body of the agency for the resignation to be effective. Until 2002, the common law rule was that a resignation had to be accepted to be effective.  In 2002, the state court of appeals in State ex rel. Munroe v. Poulsbo, 109...

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It’s Not Too Early to Start Thinking About Elected Officials’ Salaries

August 15, 2012 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials , Administrative and Elected Officials-County

It's a good idea to think about the salaries your jurisdiction pays its elected officials before the fall elections and budget season. Why? Because under the state constitution, there are restrictions as to when some elected officials' salaries may be changed.

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The Unassailable Right to Make Any Decision You Want: Avoiding Judicial Intervention in Local Land Use Decision Making

May 31, 2012 by Phil Olbrechts
Category: Land Use Administration , Planning Advisor , Administrative and Elected Officials

Any superior court judge in your county can single-handedly toss out a decision of your entire city council if the judge decrees your council violated the constitution or some state or federal law. Are there any decisions out of reach of your local superior court judge?

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Can Local Elected Officials Reduce Their Own Salaries?

May 15, 2012 by Pat Mason
Category: Administrative and Elected Officials , Administrative and Elected Officials-County

We have been asked a number of times whether local elected officials may waive all or part of their salaries as a way to financially assist their local government - or just to make a statement, as some of their salaries are pretty low to begin with. While this likely can be done, there are some legal issues that must be considered.

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