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What’s behind the City Council’s “lack of confidence in the mayor” vote?

During 12/13 City Council meeting, Clyde Hill City Councilmembers voted unanimously on a motion that expressed a “lack of confidence in the mayor’s performance.” Councilmember Steve Friedman initially motioned for a vote of no confidence against Mayor Marianne Klaas. After debating the matter for an hour, councilmembers settled on changing the “no confidence” motion to “lack of confidence.” Not a good use of time with the city staff attending the meeting.

Councilmembers used an issue between the City Administrator and Clyde Hill police officers dating back to 2020 as the basis for their “lack of confidence” vote. It appears that – according to councilmembers – the mayor has not devoted enough city resources to handling issues. While the mayor has taken steps to resolve the ongoing issues by developing a plan and emphasizing her commitment to finding a resolution, this was not enough for them.

Councilmembers appear determined to undermine the mayor wherever possible. During the last election cycle, they attempted to drastically alter how our city is governed through Proposition 1. This asked Clyde Hill residents to hand more power to the City Council, demoting the mayor by relinquishing residents right to vote for the mayor. Instead, the city council would appoint the mayor in a council-manager form of government.

The city manager would answer to the city council – not the residents. The change of government would have removed critical check on the city council’s power, only possible through a voter-approved mayor. City councilmembers would have gained more power under Prop 1.

This last council meeting made it very clear that over 61% of voters made the right choice by voting against the change, ensuring the city council didn’t receive more power.

What’s not clear is whether the vote expressing a lack of confidence in the mayor was childish retaliation for their losing Prop 1 or a sad attempt to undermine the mayor’s credibility. Whatever the intention, the public should look past the display, evaluate the facts, and demand the council focus on solving real problems for the community as they were elected to do.

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