Letter-to-Editor: Mukilteo council agenda should be vetted

Per City Council Rules of Procedure 4.C, I am requesting the following items be researched by the Parliamentarian and included in the soonest practicable Council agenda:

The Council meeting of March 21, 2022, illuminated certain procedural issues that, I think, would be of significant benefit to have clarity on.  In particular, Resolution 2014-02 was presented as it outlined a procedure for appointing commission members and hiring certain public officers.   A question was raised as to how well known this resolution was and how often it had been adhered to prior, as evidently, the resolution’s procedure was not known by any of the meeting principals in the City Council meeting of March 7.  This Resolution was cited as the reason for withdrawing a new appointment to a City commission and to removing from the agenda the proposal to hire the finance director.   It is striking to this layman public citizen that such a basic function could be as unclear to our elected leaders as it obviously was and is.  I do not think that any of them have been well served in this instance.

  1. Please cite with clarity the complete impact of the following resolutions when taken together:
    1. 1990-25
    2. 1992-18
    3. 1995-23
    4. 2014-02
    5. 2019-10
    6. 2020-03
  2. How could so basic a function not be made clear to the Council, Mayor and Administrator?  That seems, to me, to solely be the function of the parliamentarian to vet the agenda prior to council meeting and present relevant binding regulations in advance and not during or after a contentious discussion.  Why did this not happen?
  3. Are resolutions binding sometimes but not others?  The city website states the following distinction between an Ordinance and a Resolution:
    • An ordinance, as that term is typically used, refers to a local law of a municipal corporation, duly enacted by the proper authorities, prescribing general, uniform, and permanent rules of conduct, relating to the corporate affairs of the municipality. Ordinances may be used for purely administrative purposes, such as to establish an office or set salaries. An ordinance can either regulate conduct or, for example, when establishing a crime, prohibit described conduct
      or actions altogether.
    • A resolution typically is less solemn and formal than an ordinance and, “generally speaking, is simply an expression of the opinion or mind of the official body concerning some particular item of business or matter of administration coming within its official cognizance.” In practice, resolutions are often limited to expressions of opinion. Contrasted with an ordinance, which generally prescribes permanent rules of conduct or government, a resolution usually deals with matters of a special or temporary character.
  4. If Resolutions are being cited as binding now, though in actuality they are “simply an expression of the opinion or temporal mind of the body”, were all commission appointments and public hirings from 2014 – 2022 which ignored the 2014 “mind of the body” invalid?
  5. Would an ordinance clarify the matter or is that redundant to the relevant resolution(s)?

Michael Dixon, Mukilteo resident

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