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Op-Ed: Mukilteo City Councilmembers don’t get to invent rules to suit themselves

Michael Dixon
Michael Dixon

I was denied the confirmation vote tonight to the City of Mukilteo Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commission.  Appalled, I asked for an official explanation and have not yet received one.

Let me enumerate.  The City Council is empowered by state law to operate within the confines of its City Code.  The Code makes no mention of any qualification at all for members of any of its three commissions, nor have any other nominees to any other commission ever been voted down.  Tonight, three nominees to the DEI commission were voted down.  I was one of the nominees.

In a heated back and forth between the mayor who nominated us and a vocal and vehement Council, comments were made by Councilmembers such as “these nominees are less qualified”, or how struck they were by the absence of so many other “well qualified applicants”.  Aghast, I sat befuddled and bemused as the mayor asked to no avail if the Council would simply ask any of the three nominees all in attendance on the Zoom session a single question. They never did. Then they voted in what looked like a 3-3 vote with 1 abstaining until Councilmember Emery recognized the mayor would vote with the majority, so said he changed his mind and his vote and would now abstain, yielding a bullet proof majority decision to reject all three of us. Whether I was voted in 4-3 with the mayor as the tie breaker or 4-3 in the Council, I would have been equally insulted by anything less than a unanimous confirmation.

Now, allow me to explain my qualifications which are already part of the public record.  You be the judge.

  • I’m African American.
  • Owns a local Farmers Insurance Agency in Mukilteo.
  • I’ve lived in Mukilteo since September 2007 – that’s 14.5 years.
  • I’ve been elected 3 times as a utility commissioner here (twice for Alderwood Water and now currently for Mukilteo Water).
  • I’ve served as President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Alderwood Water and Wastewater District Board of Commissioners and am currently Vice President of the Mukilteo Water and Wastewater District Board of Commissioners.
  • Following both a BS and MBA from MIT, I have had a 20+ year corporate career spanning large to small companies.
  • I worked in city government pre-MBA as the Associate Director for Policy of the Office of Management and Budget of my native US Virgin Islands.
  • I worked in public finance investment banking for 3 years pre-MBA, advising municipalities in Texas on bond financings.  In fact, during that time I served on the strategic advisory consulting team hired by the District of Columbia to author their 4-year strategic turnaround plan.  I personally worked with then CFO Anthony Williams on that plan and personally authored the chapter on health and human services. I turned down the job to be deputy CFO of one of his agencies to instead attend graduate school at MIT.
  • During my corporate career, I was the regional President of the multi-state African American Forum at General Electric Company from 2005 – 2007.  This organization cultivated and developed African American talent through GE’s diversity efforts.
  • I am presently on the Board of Advisors of the Mukilteo YMCA and am a member of its nascent DEI Commission.
  • I am self-employed here in Mukilteo and support a host of community activities.
  • I am well read on this topic as I am 55 and believe I have a useful perspective on this matter.

Evidently, according to the Council, I do not.  In fact, I don’t even warrant a single question, so “less experienced” and insufficient are my apparently “lacking” qualifications.

So, my opinion is that the Council acted inappropriately and capriciously in a reckless power battle with the mayor.  That’s my opinion.  I’m still mad about what happened and request an explanation in a special meeting or inclusion in an agenda of the Council.  The Council is not all powerful.  They don’t get to invent rules to suit themselves as they go along.  Their role is very prescribed and limited – BY LAW.  They should not be permitted this type of gargantuan over-reach, or they will never stop overreaching.

First, they came for me.  Who will defend you, when they come for you? 

Michael Dixon, Mukilteo, WA 98275

To read the detail breakdown the city council meeting, click here.

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7 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Mukilteo City Councilmembers don’t get to invent rules to suit themselves

  • Why? Why did they reject you? What did they gain? Is it just about a power struggle between the mayor and the council? What is behind their disunity?

  • Just read Mr. Dixon Letter to the Editor where he stated, “Whether I was voted in 4-3 with the mayor as the tie breaker or 4-3 in the Council, I would have been equally insulted by anything less than a unanimous confirmation.”

    I do not know him or much about the Mukileto City Council or its politics but such his statement make me question his sense of self entitlement.

    Sounds like a lot of self entitlement to me.

    • I can appreciate your view and take your point that perhaps my comment was inartfully expressed at the time. What I was trying to convey was that this is volunteer commission that I was willing to volunteer my time and effort for zero remuneration simply to serve. Since the only requirement to volunteer is to be a city resident, I think it is reasonable to accept any and all nominees unanimously – not just me because of some special virtue I possess, but any volunteer who is selected through the existing process and imply put forward for a ceremonial approval process. I hope this better conveys and clarifies my comment and provides further insight into who I am as a person. I thank you for taking the time to read the article, process it and present your thoughts in a sincere manner.

      • Thanks, that was an excellent reply.

  • Your qualifications speak for themselves, you are above qualified and Mukikteo could only be grateful to have your experience and education as part of a commission. What can people do to help?

    • Write the Council and ask them to approve the Mayor’s nominees. Come to Council meetings and ask the Council to approve the Mayor’s nominees.

  • I worked with Mike Dixon for several years at a renewable energy components manufacturing company. He was always “the smartest guy in the room” regardless of what room– an outstanding motivator and leader, one enthusiastic about any project. There is just no way any competent, honest and functional public-serving group could consider him unqualified for anything, let alone this position. Which begs the question about competency and biases in place behind this rejection. If the City Council is incapable of recognizing a highly-qualified public asset such as Mike when they see it, the people of Mukilteo deserve better, more qualified leadership.


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