Snohomish switch to strong mayor on ballot; language challenged

SNOHOMISH — The man behind the drive to change the city’s government is asking a Superior Court judge to change how the matter is summarized on the November general election ballot.

The question voters will decide is whether to approve a strong-mayor government. If so, it would replace the current council-manager form of government.

Bill Betten circulated petitions on the issue, the first step in getting the proposed change on the ballot. The City Council unanimously approved a resolution putting the question on the fall ballot.

Betten now is asking a Snohomish County Superior Court judge to change the way the matter is summarized on the ballot. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday. Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak said the city attorney would be present.

In his request for a judicial review of the matter, Betten said he was asking “for more clarity in plain English so the average voter can reasonably understand the question on the ballot.”

He is questioning the proposed ballot language. It asks if the city should adopt the mayor-council government and abandon the current council-manager government.

Betten is asking for that language to be replaced or to have additional language added. He suggests the summary statement ask: “Shall the current non-elected city manager and the council-appointed mayor positions be eliminated and replaced by a single, voter-elected mayor position?”

Under state law, the summary ballot statements for city matters are developed by the city attorney. “So it’s really their call on how it gets developed and whether they fulfilled the requirements under state law,” said Garth Fell, the county elections manager.

There also will be pro and con statements on the issue included in the general election voters’ pamphlets, written by committees.

Betten is chairman of the pro-change group and is expected to participate in the writing of the statement.

The con statement will be written by former Mayor Ann Averill and two other residents, Guzak said.

The deadline for the pro and con statements is Tuesday. Each side can submit rebuttal statements. Those must be submitted to the auditor’s office by Friday.

The City Council has seven elected officials. The mayor is selected by the council. City Manager Larry Bauman oversees day-to-day operations. Bauman’s annual salary is $142,853. Guzak’s pay is $725 a month.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.
Race for Mukilteo City Council is a mix of old and new names

Housing, waterfront and public safety top the list of concerns for candidates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, front, talks to reporters in Olympia, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, as Secretary of Health Umair Shah looks on. Inslee announced that starting Nov. 15, people in the state will need to either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test in order to attend large events. (AP Photo/ Rachel La Corte)
With vaccine deadline here, some fired in Snohomish County

Some workers sought an injunction against Gov. Inslee’s mandate. That effort fell flat Monday, the deadline to get vaccinated.

In this May 2020 photo, garbage cans line a residential street on trash pickup day in Mukilteo. In November, voters will weigh in on whether the city should encourage more high density housing. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Police: Man showed up to ex-wife’s Everett home, stabbed ex-roommate

The suspect, 47, of Seattle, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree assault.

Lake Stevens worker’s protection order granted against boss

The worker and his boss, Public Works Director Eric Durpos, were put on leave for an incident at a grievance meeting.

Top row: Vanessa Edwards (left) and Ray Sheldon Jr. Bottom row (from left): Connor Krebbs, Wade Rinehardt and Katie Jackson. (Not pictured: Sherry Weersing)
After year of tumult, new faces vie for Marysville School Board

One candidate is concerned about “Critical Race Theory.” Others see more pressing issues.

2 years later, charges filed in ‘unusual’ deadly crash in Everett

Dakotah Allett, 27, crashed into two vehicles on the side of I-5, leaving one woman dead, the new charges say.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, center, greets a new trooper during a graduation ceremony, as Gov. Jay Inslee looks on in the Rotunda at the Capitol Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Olympia, Wash. The class of 31 troopers completed more than 1,000 hours of training and will now work for the WSP across the state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 2,000 state workers lose jobs

Ten troopers north of Seattle, 54 Monroe prison workers and hundreds more across the state refused the governor’s mandate.

Most Read