– The Issue:
On June 5, 2015, former Yelm City Administrator Shelly Badger announced her last day would be September 1.
That advanced notice provided 3 months to post the position, interview qualified candidates, hire a replacement and have Ms. Badger train and transition the new-hire.
Yet, Mayor Harding chose to do none of that, as he reported to the Nisqually Valley News (NVN),
“Rather than fill the position immediately, he [Mayor Harding] said he’s taking time to evaluate exactly what the city administrator’s responsibilities should be, as it’s been a long time since the city has had to hire someone for the position.”
Tomorrow, October 1st marks the 30th day this position has been vacant and without being posted to be filled and almost 4 months since the public was informed this position would become vacant.
– The Facts:
Fact number 1:
The Yelm Municipal Code (YMC) 2.14.010 states:
“The position of city administrator shall be filled by appointment of the mayor, subject to the confirmation by a majority vote of the city council, to serve at the pleasure of the mayor. The city at its discretion may specify additional terms and conditions of employment in a written agreement executed by the mayor and approved by the city council. (Ord. 829 § 4, 2005).
Fact number 2:
The legal definition of “shall” is:
“An imperative command; has a duty to or is required to.” For example, the notice shall be sent within 30 days. Usually ‘shall’ used here is in the mandatory sense.”
“When used in statutes, contracts, or the like, the word ‘shall‘ is generally imperative or mandatory,” quoting US Legal, Inc.
Therefore, the Yelm Municipal Code indicates the mayor “has a duty to or is required to” fill the position of city administrator. The mayor has no discretion to leave this post vacant and is not an option, according to the YMC.
Fact number 3:
The Yelm City Council August Study Session Minutes state:
“Inquired about hiring staff for vacant positions. Mayor responded that the Finance Director and PW Parks
Maintenance positions have been filled, an offer has been made for WWTP Manager and staff is still
working on filling the PW Manager position. There is no confirmed process for filling the City Administrator position at this time.”
[Ed. Note: clearly, no intent to fill the post 3 months after notification of the Sept. 1 vacancy.]
Click here, then scroll down to “6. Council Initiatives.”
Government appointed positions are usually posted for interview applicants within 30 days of the vacancy. That the City of Yelm has over 8,000 people and growing without a City Administrator is a disservice to the entire community.
The City of Yelm’s Oath of Office taken by elected officials partially states,
“I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of City Council Member of the City of Yelm to the best of my ability.”
This includes following and upholding the laws and ordinances of the City of Yelm.