Proposition 1 is defeated in Washougal

Incumbent Sean Guard is leading in mayoral race

The form of government in Washougal will remain the same, after the defeat of Proposition 1.

The measure would have changed the form from mayor-council with a city administrator to council-manager.

Currently, Prop. 1 has received 673 votes for it (36.32%) and 1,180 votes against it (63.68%).

City Councilwoman Joyce Lindsay was among the supporters of the change.

“The council voted to put it on the ballot, and we did that,” she said Wednesday morning. “We ran a campaign, and it did not pass. The people had a chance to vote and to choose, so I’m comfortable with that. I’m disappointed, but I’m comfortable.

Lindsay described the low voter turnout as “really appalling.”

“I’ve been looking at returns all over the state,” she said. “We did not have a very large turnout for the primary. Are people apathetic? Are they confused? I think people don’t understand government. We pay so much attention to national issues that catch our fancy. Local government is what affects our lives the most every day.

“Government is complicated,” Lindsay added. “People don’t take the time to understand.”

According to Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey, there are 8,332 active registered voters in Washougal.

With a council-manager plan, a city manager appoints and directs the department heads. A city manager can be removed by a majority vote of the council.

With a council-manager system, a mayor is selected from among the city council members. That person presides at council meetings and is head of the city for ceremonial purposes, but has no regular administrative duties.

Marilyn Tyrrell is a member of the committee that wrote a statement opposing Proposition 1 for the voters’ pamphlet.

“I am pleased that we were able to make clear to the voters that Prop. 1 has little to do with the need for a change in management system,” she said Wednesday morning. “We spent a lot of time and energy finding the essence of our message ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and it definitely is not broken.

“Brent Boger says that I misjudged him, and for that I apologize, but I still believe that someone on the City Council wants to be mayor,” Tyrrell added. “Running the city well is more important that replacing a system that is working well for one that is doubtful, both in questions of management and in matters of cost.”

If the proposition had been approved by voters, Mayor Sean Guard would have become an eighth council member for the remainder of his current term through Dec. 31 and the results of the mayoral race with Earl Scott would have become moot.

Currently, Guard has received 965 votes (53.58%), and Scott has received 836 votes (46.42%).

“The next few days will show if that lead continues,” Guard said Tuesday night. “I am obviously very optimistic and hopeful that it does, as we have worked very hard to bring successes to Washougal in a very difficult and short four years, and I look forward to being able to continue those success stories.”

He referred to the low voter turnout, and said he is thankful for the lead in his re-election campaign.

Scott, a captain with the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, has lived in Washougal for 28 years.

“There are still some votes to be counted,” he said Wednesday morning. “I will wait ’til those votes come in.”