Bellevue council amends method of electing mayor

The Bellevue City Council voted Dec. 9 to amend its rules for electing the next mayor and deputy mayor. On Jan. 6, the council will use ballots rather than vocalize and raise their hands for the candidates they choose.

City Clerk Myrna Basich said before the vote that councilors had requested for several years an alternative option for electing the mayor and deputy mayor. The city of Bellevue has been using Robert's Rules of Order where nominations are made and the nominees voted on in the order in which their nominations were received by voice, rising or raising of the hand.

The new rule, passed by a narrow 4-3 margin, would use paper ballots where councilmembers write down their choice for mayor and deputy mayor. The ballots would be cast, counted and recast until one mayoral candidate receives at least four votes.

Mayor Conrad Lee said before the vote Monday he feels the new method is more neutral and doesn't provide any one candidate with an assumed advantage.

"Electing mayor is always a very difficult, contentious, emotional, personal, selfish political action," said Lee, "so I think that to help with the effectiveness of a council that works together, we need to begin and start the process as much as we can to minimize those perceptions of opportunities."

Councilmembers Kevin Wallace and Don Davidson and Deputy Mayor Jennifer Roberts opposed changing the rules. Roberts said she felt the new rule for electing mayor will be more time-consuming and require a lengthy series of votes that may come off as squabbling among the council, which could be off-putting to potential city manager candidates.


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