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MRSC Insight Blog

Posts for Administrative and Elected Officials

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Residency Requirements for Local Government Officials and Appointees

Must an elected official, advisory (e.g., volunteer) board member, or city or county administrator reside in the jurisdiction they serve or work for? The answer to this question depends on the position, and in some cases, local policies. 

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A women is interviewed by a panel

Hiring Staff: Roles of Mayor/Manager Versus the City/Town Council

When hiring staff in cities or towns, what role does the council play? What role does the mayor (or manager) play? To make the best hiring decisions, the legislative and executive branches should work cooperatively and limit activities to their respective statutory roles.

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Exterior of a town hall with flag displayed

Knowing Your Roles: City and Town Governments

Conflicts in city and town governments between the executive and the legislative branches can be the result of confusion as to these roles and their responsibilities. In such cases, the parties should revisit how power is divided between these two branches.

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A woman celebrates winning her election with her supporters

You’ve Been Elected: Now What?

Now that you've been elected there are a number of steps you'll need to take before assuming office, as well as some resources you might want to check out to get ready for your new adventure. 

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taking an oath of office

The Oath of Office for Local Elected Officials

Local governments often have questions about the oath of office, such as when it can be taken, who can administer it, what wording should be used, and whether it must be administered in person.

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Salaries for Elected Officials

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

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Balance of Power Struggles in City Government

This blog touches on common struggles between executive and legislative branches of city government and provides insight on how to handle these.

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Roles and Responsibilities: Questions and Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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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Ten Traits of an Effective Councilmember

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?

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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Take Advantage of the End of the Year

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

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?

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

How do local governments obtain legal services? When it comes to cities and towns, the answer is not that easy.

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