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How will Snohomish's government transition work?

Updated: The margin between Kartak and Guzak is about 2.5 percent as straggling ballots continue to be counted.

SNOHOMISH — The city is preparing to change its form of government from Council-Manager to Mayor-Council on Nov. 28, the day the County Auditor certifies the results from the general election.
What that will mean is, for the first time in more than 40 years, Snohomish will return to its “roots” of governing constituents via a strong-mayor government structure, with an elected mayor replacing the city manager to run City Hall and daily operations. 
That mayor will be John T. Kartak, who bested opponent Karen Guzak in the general election by a 2.5 percent margin.
Guzak served as the council-chosen “weak mayor” for several years as an elected City Councilwoman. She will retain her City Council seat through December 2019, and she can run for re-election.
The City Council, still a seven-member elected body residing in Snohomish, will continue to govern and pass ordinances, policies, contracts, resolutions and the city budget. The new mayor will be responsible for chairing council meetings, but cannot vote on council decisions except to break a tie-vote for motions except for ordinances, grant or revocation of franchise or license, or any resolution for monetary payments. A mayor pro-tem can also be chosen from among the seven councilmembers to run council meetings in the absence of the new mayor.
Kartak plans to bring in a full-time city administrator to help run the daily operations and projects at City Hall under the new government structure. The new mayor can choose the new city administrator. The city set the 2018 budget for the annual salaries of the new mayor and city administrator.
The mayor will be paid $18,000 and the city administrator will be paid up to $183,193 (including full-time employee benefits) respectively. The $18,000
salary of the new mayor was decided by the City Council earlier this year, and it was anticipated the new mayor will run the city on a ‘part-time’ basis.
With running City Hall as the chief executive and administrative officer, and other ceremonial duties, the new mayor will also be responsible for seeing that “all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced and that law and order is maintained in the city, and shall have general supervision of the administration of city government and all city interests,” according to state law. The new mayor will be responsible for hiring and firing city staff, negotiate labor agreements, maintain the city budget and finances and develop policies for City Council approval.
Kartak will be publicly sworn into office on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

 

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