Washougal’s form of government to be discussed

Potential public vote on council-manager system is a June 29 town hall topic

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The next Washougal town hall will feature discussions regarding a potential public vote about the city’s form of government.

During the City Council workshop yesterday, Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay requested that the issue of changing from a strong mayor to a council-manager form of government be discussed and potentially placed on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Councilman Paul Greenlee suggested city officials talk to Bill Ganley, who has been involved with council-manager government changes in Battle Ground.

Ganley is currently serving his fifth consecutive term in office as a Battle Ground city councilman. He served as the Battle Ground mayor from 1997 to 2001.

Councilwoman Jennifer McDaniel described the potential change as “an interesting proposition.”

“It has some merits,” she said. “I have heard some interest from the public. The issue comes up about every two years.”

Councilman Brent Boger said there would be things to contemplate regarding a potential change, but he is open to discussing it.

“I want to hear what the public thinks about it,” he said.

After the meeting, Lindsay said a council-manager is a more stable form of government.

She mentioned Washougal has had only one, two-term mayor since 1908 — Charles Crumpacker.

“That means that the city is changing direction every few years, and there is no constant/continual government,” Lindsay said. “A city manager, which serves at the will of the council — seven members — can be there over many years and can be fired if they do not perform for the good of the city.

“A city manager is a professional,” she added. “A mayor can be elected without any experience whatsoever. Smaller cities that cannot afford a city manager can do very well with a mayor. As a city grows, stability is critical.”

The city’s next town hall is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St.

Promoting the city as a destination for events will be another town hall topic.

During the council meeting, Lindsay said she was impressed with the runners who participated in the “Suds for Sight” event, to benefit the Washougal Lions Foundation.

The 4-mile pub run/walk Saturday, which began at Reflection Plaza, involved 136 people who raised an estimated $1,500.

“It is good visibility for our city,” Lindsay said regarding the first-time event. “Our city is becoming fun.

“This relates to it becoming a destination for things to happen,” she added.