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Council does not follow Yelm’s Municipal Code on Mayor Pro-Tem post!


Correction published January 9, 2019: I incorrectly reported the Yelm City Council did not follow the Yelm Municipal Code (YMC). The council did follow the YMC by having a biennial appointment January 9, 2018. However, in a 4-3 split of the council between nominees Joe DePinto and Tracey Wood, Councilor Wood was appointed to an additional 2 year term. With Wood serving out the term vacated when JW Foster became mayor in August 2016, Wood had already been pro-tem for over 1 1/3 years. The 4-3 split vote for Wood to serve yet another term was exemplified in a 2018 study session where a councilor raised the issue that mayor pro-tem appointments should be rotated among the council and should not be a “popularity contest” appointment. The council agreed and discussed looking to rotate the position, perhaps as early as Jan. 2019. Nothing else followed from the study session for 2019. With Wood having been mayor pro-tem for 3.3 years at the end of this year, Yelm will assuredly see a newly appointed councilor for this post in January 2020.


The Yelm Council is one year overdue in appointing a new mayor pro tempore according to Yelm law!

  • Editor’s note: Yelm Mayor Pro tempore Tracy Wood was appointed January 12, 2016. His length of service was questioned by a council member at a study session in mid-2018, with the council agreeing to rotate this appointment at the end of the 2018. The council ended their 2018 business December 11, 2018, with no mention of a new pro-tem. The council agenda of January 8, 2019, mentions nothing of a pro-tem replacement. The city council should appoint a new mayor pro-tem on January 8 to serve for one year to the end of this biennium, as required by city code, then a new pro-tem appointment in January 2020, to serve the full 2 year term.  

Click here for the Yelm City Council Agenda of January 8. 2019.

Bottom line: Quoting the Nisqually Valley News on January 15, 2016, “[Former] Mayor Ron Harding said the city code states the appointment of mayor pro-tem occurs at the first council meeting of the year.”

While the mayor pro-tem appointment may be yet another oversight, I have seen many items mentioned at council study sessions set for future meetings that were also dropped, unintentional or not. However, Yelm Municipal Code (YMC) requirements should be placed on city officials’ annual calendars to be followed. The YMC states, “A mayor pro tempore shall be appointed from among their membership by a majority of the city council members at the first meeting of the newly elected council at the beginning of each biennium, commencing January 1, 2002.” The Yelm Council is one year overdue in appointing a new mayor pro tempore, in addition to missing scheduling this as an agenda item in December and now the first meeting in 2019.
Read more from the YMC.

Posted by Steve on January 7, 2019 at 12:03 am | Permalink

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