This page provides a basic overview of city and county council committees in Washington State, including links to committee websites and code provisions.
Council committees are policy review and discussion arms of the city/county council that have been created to assist the council in examining issues that may come before it in greater depth and detail. Committees study issues and develop recommendations for consideration by the council. Committees do not take binding action on behalf of the city/county.
Two types of committees exist at the local level:
- Standing committees are permanent bodies with jurisdiction over specific ongoing policy areas such as finance and public safety.
- Ad hoc committees are temporary committees established to investigate and advise on more short-term issues and problems.
While there is no statute that specifically addresses the establishment and operation of internal city council committees, MRSC believes the authority for this can be found in RCW 35A.12.120, which provides, in part: "The council shall determine its own rules and order of business and may establish rules for the conduct of council meetings and the maintenance of order." Under this authority, the city council may enact rules and regulations to govern the conduct and operations of the city council. This authority includes the ability to determine if and when standing committees will be utilized, what the committees will be, how they will conduct their business, and how their members will be appointed.
Examples of Council Committees
- Airway Heights
- King County
- Maple Valley
Examples of Code Provisions
- Clarkston Municipal Code Ch. 2.76, Council Standing Committee
- Hoquiam Municipal Code Ch. 1.32, Committees
- Medina Municipal Code Sec. 2.04.110, Committees
- Mountlake Terrace Municipal Code Sec. 2.10.110, Committees
- Olympia Municipal Code Ch. 2.06, Council Committees
- Omak Municipal Code Ch. 2.08, Standing Committees
- Raymond Municipal Code Ch. 2.30, Council Committees
- Snohomish County Code Sec. 2.48.170 (standing committees) and Sec. 2.48.172 (ad hoc committees)
- Spokane Municipal Code Sec. 2.005.010(D), Committees
- Whatcom County Code Sec. 2.30.170, Committees