[EDITOR’S NOTEThe following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff.]

As a code city, Burien has a weak mayor system of government. The mayor has no formal authority outside the council, serving a largely ceremonial role as council chairperson. As chairperson, the ceremonial mayor is the meeting facilitator, not the meeting leader.

There is a significant difference between being a leader and being a facilitator. Our ceremonial mayor seems to not know the difference.  He tends to speak first when his role is to speak last. He tends to direct the discussion when his role is to move it along. Proper facilitation should speed up the process.

And no one on the council speaks up about the ceremonial mayor assuming a role that is distinctly not his. Perhaps it’s because council members are ill-acquainted with the rules of order. Or perhaps it’s because they don’t want to have a confrontation. Neither one of those reasons is valid.

If the ceremonial mayor’s role were enforced, the meeting may well go more quickly because he wouldn’t be talking much of the time. It is not his job to talk much of the time. It is his job to ensure that all council members are heard and that they follow the rules for discussion. He’s not doing that.

The meeting may well speed up if the ceremonial mayor did his job and council members delivered fewer speeches and rambling personal stories. The purpose of the meeting is discussion and decision. Perhaps we should follow the state law and the agreed-upon meeting rules.

– Stephen Lamphear
Burien resident

EDITOR’S NOTEDo you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to scott@southkingmedia.com and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full name, as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes). Read our updated Letter to the Editor policy here.

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

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2 Comments

  1. I disagree, the Council meetings are extremely well run and to the point. Some members ramble but outbursts are a thing of the past with decorum enforced. When you served in the past did you refer to the Mayor as “ceremonial” as well?

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