Burien City Council Nixes Elected Mayor Proposal on 3-3 Vote Monday Night

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Burien city council members defeated a motion to place the question of an elected city mayor on the April 2013 special election ballot at Monday night’s meeting (Nov. 26).

Councilmembers Jack Block Jr., who made the motion for such an election at their Nov. 19 meeting, Bob Edgar and Lucy Krakowiak voted yes. Opposing it were Deputy Mayor Rose Clark and Councilmembers Joan McGilton and Gerald Robison. Mayor Brian Bennett was absent.

The motion died on a tie vote, as did a prior amendment to offer the motion as a resolution, which City Attorney Craig Knudsen said was the proper legal format.

After Block made his motion from the floor on Nov. 19, which was promptly seconded by Krakowiak, Clark recessed the meeting and then walked out of the meeting with Robison (read our coverage here). This left only three council members present – one short of a quorum – and that meeting was not continued.

Both McGilton and Bennett were absent and excused from that meeting, giving the Block-led faction a 3-2 majority at the moment.

Recalling the events of Nov. 19, Clark read a lengthy statement at the beginning of Monday’s meeting in which she noted that since Burien incorporated in 1993, councilmembers have deferred to each other by granting the courtesy of not taking major actions unless all members are present.

This, she said, had never been infringed on until last August, when, in her absence, Block moved to withdraw the North Highline annexation measure from the ballot, and then again with two motions including the elected mayor issue last week.

Block defended his action, saying that after a divisive fight over annexation he was trying to focus the city on something positive by proposing an elected mayor.

But Robison countered that talking about changing the form of city government is “irresponsible” without a study and discussion of the question by the full council.

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36 Responses to “Burien City Council Nixes Elected Mayor Proposal on 3-3 Vote Monday Night”
  1. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    Sooooo.. according to the majority of the council we as citizens have no say in how our city is governed? Glad to see the mayor was there for this decision.

    • Amy Rosenfield says:

      Actually we do. We elect the city council. How is that not having a say?

      • Ghost of Maplewild says:

        I realize we have a say for who is on the council. But we should also have a say in how the city is run. Either by a Mayor or city manager. But the majority of the council think that we should not.

    • PanderBear Jack says:

      Sooo according to what you’re telling me, if youre not spoon-fed your information by those on the anti-city side you won’t believe anything you read?

      • Debi Wagner says:

        Pander can you please define anti city citing examples.
        Thank uou

      • John Poitras says:

        Pander it sounds to me like you are anti-people or in other words you support the folks on the council who do not want to put the peoples voice ahead of their own personal petty agendas.

  2. Feralcat says:

    Sadly it very apparent people really do not care about the city of burien, so if the citizens themselves, don’t care, trying to find people to elect that care is going to be impossible.

    I have a Prostitution ring 4 house down from me. I guess this has been a problem house for quite some time. Thank god we have King county sheriff department helping out. I do not think it is because we do not have enough officers. I just don’t think they are equipped enough to handle what is going on. I think what was happening in white center is moving to Burien. One more officer is NOT going to solve this. So Jack Block wanting to hire another officer is not going to make a difference.

    Sadly in this instance we need a better animal control/shelter that can actually operate properly and screw murals on the side of building that is a waste of our tax payers money.

  3. John Poitras says:

    Its to be expected.. Clark Robison and McGilton are blind when it comes to Mike Martin. They always put their personal preferences and laziness ahead of what they were elected to do which was represent the residents of Burien. To them its all about manipulation, power, lack of transparency, lack of acceptability and stonewalling the residents. What was not reported was why Rose Clark was allowed to slide on recessing the meeting when a quorum was present without a motion or a vote. I think ANY increase in police presence is welcome and I thank Jack for trying.. We could have had several more police on the beat if we had not wasted so much money on pushing for the annexation of white center.

    • TcB says:

      So you support the actions of Council member Jack Block, Jr? Should this kind of thing be allowed when the Council members that you support are not in attendance? What would have you said if the shoe were on the other foot?

      • Hotrodgal says:

        IMHO, it’s not a matter of what’s allowed or not allowed concerning Mr. Block’s actions. It’s not even the matter of the subjects under discussion. It’s whether Ms. Clark’s dismissal of the meeting (thereby breaking quorum and disallowing further actions) is to be allowed to stand, under city council rules, without its being executed in the correct manner.

      • John Poitras says:

        There was a legal quorum. Jack did the right thing.. Annexation cost this city hundreds of thousands of dollars FOR WHAT?
        Are you saying that we should wait for the naysayers when they are out of town or LEGALLY proceed with city business..?
        Sorry … like it or not Its called democracy…

  4. Joey Martinez says:

    Changing the form of government is something that should be studied. It should be completely explored with all the facts laid on the table, NOT a decision made in haste. Haste makes waste.

    Would the mayor be full time or part time? What would the salary be? Will there be a city administrator position? Just a small part of the many questions that need to be answered before this goes before the voters.

    Also, if this were to be put to a vote it should be done in November so that the maximum number of voters vote on our form of government – not in a special election which generally has a smaller turn out (smaller than even a primary election).

    Joey Martinez

    • Shari says:

      If a focus on decision-making based on facts is what characterizes people on the city payroll, then my hat’s off to those on our city payroll. Facts are half the battle–whether we use them (and how) is the rest of it. We watched the council study session last night and were shaking our heads in wonder. It felt more like a bunch of naughty student council reps being scolded by the librarian than a convening of municipal leaders. Grudges and resentments and game playing and “well, if you propose that, I’ll propose this even worse thing!” all playing out in session would have been goofy-funny if the stakes weren’t so high. A line in a movie I saw this weekend came to mind as I watched the session last night: “Compromise. Or risk losing it ALL.” I’d encourage the council members to drop longstanding grudges, focus on the future, get thicker skins, behave professionally, attend regularly…remember that it’s not about them.

      • Bonnie Moormeier says:

        Well said, Shari. There will be a chance in the 2013 City Council elections for Burien residents to have a say in the future of our city. In the meantime, we need to move forward and take positive steps to continually improve our community, politics aside.

    • elizabeth2 says:

      @Joey in regards to when an issue is put on a ballot. Those who are interested in the outcome of an election affecting their city should vote whether it is a big November election or a special election.

      Pandering to lazy voters who do not care enough to vote is like pampering a small child “WIll you please vote if I do it this way so it is so much easier on you?” Children do not learn to be independent and take responsibility for actions when they are pampered excessively; neither do voters.

      • FOUL says:

        I totally agree with your statement of voting no matter what kind of an election is being held if you really care about your city. But Elizabeth, the anti annexation folks argued the same thing, vote in November when everyone is in town rather than in September when folks are on vacation. And the vote was in November. I’m sure they will say that is why annexation went down so soundingly.

        • John Poitras says:

          Foul … You are correct It was… the voter suppression attempt by the rabidly pro Martin pro annexation members went down in flames because of it because more people had an opportunity to vote on it thanks to the folks who questioned the wisdom of annexation, However it did take the vote of Bennett who swung to the side of the democracy over the usual my way or the highway members of the council.

    • Jack Block Jr. says:

      Putting the issue on the April general election would, if approved, allow the voters an opportunity to vote on who would be their mayor at the November general election.

    • John Poitras says:

      So Joey are you on record now in support of calling for a VOTE by the residents of whether we should change to a mayoral style of city government?
      Please confirm.. Keep in mind this will put you in opposition to the current majority on the council which does not want a vote and would prefer the entire subject just go away.

      • Joey Martinez says:

        I would support the council studying the issue but not the council putting it before the people. The council should study the question as much as possible and put the information out for the people. If the people want to start an initiative to change our form of government I would volunteer to help collect signatures FOR a General election.

        I feel some members of our council would use their putting the question of an elected mayor forth as a spring board for running for such office and I don’t want to help that effort. If it’s done by the people it would be pure in its intentions.

        A council retreat is due in January, that would be a good time to start the discussion.

        Joey Martinez

        • John Poitras says:

          So Joey are you on record now of being AGAINST a motion of putting a resolution before the voters of whether they would prefer a mayoral style of government? You seem to want to be on both sides at the same time, so you do not offend your current benefactors on the council or hinder your chances when you run for council again next November.

          I am just asking you to commit to one side of the other . I don’t care what group studies the council engages in … I care about what the will of the people is.. If i am not making myself clear.. do you want the council to decide or the people.. Are you willing to commit a position on this or not?

          The current council ignored over 2000 signatures on a petition opposing annexation. Why would do you think the current majority would listen now? The point of your so called concern or fear is a red herring and it along with other issues like who was a pusher of annexation and who voted for or against high density housing in town square will certainly be issues that will be used against Joan McGilton and Rose Clark if they choose to run again next November.. If they lose then that will in effect be the will of the people and Martin will be gone and we can proceed with a change in the style of government.

          • Joey Martinez says:

            Mr Poitras, why do you always jump to the most negative reading of what people say possible?

            I said I would be for the question being studied. If it sounds like a good idea AFTER all the facts are laid out I will assist with an initiative campaign for the question to be put on the ballot. I don’t believe the question is being put up with pure intentions, but as a stepping stone for some in their political ambitions and I refuse to help in that goal.

            I do not agree with the question being put up in its present form. The motion wasn’t even brought up the right way. To me that means the motion was made in haste. This is NOT a decision that should be made lightly or in haste. Study the question. Get the facts on what it would mean for Burien on the table.

            I could be wrong BUT I think it only takes 3 council members to put something on the agenda to study it?

            As for the initiative process – your people have run two strong campaigns, I don’t think an initiative process would be too much of a challenge for them.

            Joey Martinez

        • Debi Wagner says:

          Funny how it was so important for the people of area Y to decide on annexation but the people of Burien can’t decide anything unless it is studied first so missing the chance to put it on the ballot. I know the game. Also funny how the issue is turned into improper procedure and missing council members. Doesn’t really matter at all to the four in the majority to wait until someone returns, they will get their way because they always have a majority. Now finally a chance for the people of Burien to be put first and it is called sneaky and underhanded rather than what it really is; “THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS.”

          • TcB says:

            I’m a people of Burien. I didn’t like the move made by J Block. I guess I don’t count.

          • John Poitras says:

            Joey.. Negative interpretation? Only in the eye of the beholder which in this case happens to be you.
            You are still prevaricating and I am still unclear as to where you stand on this issue. I repeat as I said in my earlier response to your playing both right and left field on this issue. WHY does the council need to study it? Just put it up for a vote and let the people decide! Thats my point.
            Statements are made that seem logical but often the premise is false like Burien needs to expand! WHY does Burien need to expand? I am from California and folks down there FIGHT expansion and developers with their hands in the government till. This is a lesson that folks like you need to learn Joey.

  5. Joe Wills says:

    JEEZ Joey !!! are you on the City Payroll ????

  6. Link to video of Rose Clark and Jack Block Jr explaining what happened at the end of last weeks meeting and why they took the actions they did.


  7. TcB says:

    Hey Scott,
    I get a warning that ATKMH name links to a phishing site. Just fyi

    • ATKMH says:

      So sorry TcB, I never get that message when I go to the website and I tried the link before I sent it on because it just seemed easier. It’s the Municipal Research and Services Center, under governance.

      Again I apologize for the notice.

      • ATKMH says:

        I also see that there are several sites on the internet with the same ATKMH in their name, not connected with those so will change my name to avoid that in the future. Thanks for reporting it.

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