A truly humbling experience

Jan 18, 2018

After being reelected by the citizens in the November election, I was sworn into office for my fourth term as a Mill Creek City Councilmember on January 2. It is no less a humbling experience for this term than it was my first term.

It is a huge responsibility to ensure our neighborhoods are safe, we operate with fiscal responsibility and keep Mill Creek the type of city we are proud to call home.

I was also honored that our council unanimously elected me to serve as mayor for another two years. Although the office is primarily ceremonial, there is much preparation for meetings and events.

May I also add that our Mayor Pro Tem Brian Holtzclaw is a very effective and a solid advocate for our city. We also have a strong council with years of experience who understand the job and are looking forward to the tasks ahead.

We have one newbie, Jared Mead, who will be taking his first steps in elected public service. And we have one vacancy to be filled but that will be a later story.

Those who have lived here for several years know we had a rocky couple of years until our new City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto joined the city staff. Then we had other issues to clean up. All that said, we are a better and stronger city today than we were in 2014.

I truly believe the best is yet to come.

 

Council/Manager form of government

 

Sometimes there is confusion about our form of government vs. an elected mayor. We recently received a presentation on the roles and responsibilities and I’d like to briefly share the differences.

The Council-Manager form of government is the most common form of local government in the United States. It resulted from the desire to eliminate corruption and unethical activity within local government by promoting nonpolitical management that is effective, transparent, responsive and accountable. Interestingly, only 53 of Washington's 281 cities operate under this approach.

Here are two of the most important characteristics of our form of government:

  • Council sets the policy tone; resolves difficult community issues; determines spending parameters; provides governance oversight; and sets priorities.
  • City Manager sets the administrative tone; ensures that Council is always well-briefed; provides advice; seeks to assist Council in achieving priorities; supports the Council's decisions; and ensures action is taken promptly on policies and programs.

I think our form of government is the best because it keeps politics out of management at City Hall. The Council has exactly one employee, the city manager. The employees work for the city manager. More importantly, the manager works for all seven councilmembers. Rebecca works for the body as a whole not just one councilmember with an agenda.

In our government, for the city to succeed, the council and manager must work collaboratively to get the best results. No pet projects or individual giving orders. We must be united in working for the best interests of the city even if we have different ideas on how to get there.

This monthly column is written by Mill Creek Mayor Pam Pruitt focuses on issues important to residents, as well as offering insight to what the City Council is up to. It reflects the personal views of the mayor and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the other members of the Mill Creek City Council.

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