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MRSC Insight Blog


Posts for Administrative and Elected Officials

Roles and Responsibilities: Questions and Answers

Roles and Responsibilities: Questions and Answers

April 5, 2021  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials Administrative and Elected Officials-County

This blog explores frequently asked questions related to roles and responsibilities of elected officials versus local government staff.

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Troublesome Behavior: Defending Against Harassment of Public Officials and Employees

Troublesome Behavior: Defending Against Harassment of Public Officials and Employees

March 18, 2021  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Personnel Policies Administrative and Elected Officials Administrative and Elected Officials-County

This blog explores strategies for dealing with members of the public who cross the line into harassing elected officials or local government staff.

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Who’s the Boss? Separation of Powers in Local Government

Who’s the Boss? Separation of Powers in Local Government

February 18, 2021  by  Linda Gallagher
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials

This blog post discusses the importance of the roles and responsibilities of elected and appointed officials working together in local governments.

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Taking the Oath of Office During a Pandemic

Taking the Oath of Office During a Pandemic

November 30, 2020  by  Sarah Doar
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials COVID-19

This blog post considers the options available to administer and take the oath of office during a pandemic. 

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New Regulations for the Use of Facial Recognition Technology

New Regulations for the Use of Facial Recognition Technology

June 22, 2020  by  Flannary Collins
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials New Legislation and Regulations Administrative and Elected Officials-County

The purpose of this blog post is to highlight the requirements in ESSB 6280, Washington State's new law regulating the use of facial technology software. 

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Knowing Your Roles: City and Town Governments Edition

Knowing Your Roles: City and Town Governments Edition

January 21, 2020  by  MRSC Insight
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials

This blog post looks at the roles and responsibilities of city and town mayors, managers, and councilmembers, and the conflicts that can sometimes arise between these different offices.

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Finding Success in Using Community Resources to Deliver Value as a Newly Elected Official

Finding Success in Using Community Resources to Deliver Value as a Newly Elected Official

January 16, 2020  by  Mike Bailey
Category:  Administrative and Elected Officials

This blog article looks at the role of an elected official as policymaker, one who brings value to the community by overseeing use of its financial resources. 

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Elected Officials Guide — What’s Personal and What’s Public?

Elected Officials Guide — What’s Personal and What’s Public?

January 9, 2020  by  Laura Crandall
Category:  Open Public Meetings Act Administrative and Elected Officials Public Records Act

This blog covers questions about the use of social media and cell phones with regards to privacy and public records and focuses on their use from the perspective of an elected official.

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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 Guest Author

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? When it comes to cities and towns, the answer is not that easy.

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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 Administrative and Elected Officials Guest Author

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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