Serving on the City Council
A candidate for City Council must be a:
- Resident of Mercer Island for at least one year
- Registered voter in Mercer Island (to register to vote, you must be a citizen of the United States, a legal resident of Washington State and at least 18 years old by Election Day)
Neither a Councilmember nor his/her spouse or interdependent family members may be employed by the City, except when the Councilmember’s spouse was employed by the City before the election or appointment to the Council.
What are the primary election requirements?
Candidates who meet the legal qualifications above must file a Declaration of Candidacy with King County Elections within the filing period in May. There is no filing fee. The general election is in November but the Primary Election Day is in August. If no more than two people file for a position, there is no primary election for that position.
What are the November election procedures?
Councilmembers are elected by registered voters of the City. Newly elected Councilmembers take office at the first Council meeting of the next year (following certification of election results by the King County Elections Officer).
What is the purpose of Council position numbers?
Washington State election law require that if more than one position with the same name (Councilmember) and district number (Mercer Island) will be voted upon during an election, the positions to be filled shall be designated by number. This means that candidates must file for a specific position on the Mercer Island City Council. Positions 1, 3, 5, and 7 are on the ballot in the same year and positions 2, 4, and 6 are on the same ballot two years later.
How often does the City Council meet?
Regular Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at the City Hall Council Chambers. Study Sessions are held before regular meetings from 6:00-7:00 pm and Special Meetings are called as needed. The meeting schedule and start-times are subject to change. The Council also meets for annual Planning Sessions for goal setting and long-range planning purposes. These are usually held over a weekend, often starting on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.
What time commitment is required?
The duties of a Councilmember involve an average minimum commitment of 30-40 hours per month for preparation, participation and attendance at meetings (regular and special City Council meetings, Council subcommittee meetings, City board and commission meetings, community meetings and committee meetings for regional appointments). Prospective candidates are encouraged to contact a current Councilmember to ask what the experience is like and what is involved.
How long is a Councilmember’s term?
Councilmembers are elected to a term of four years.
How are vacancies filled when a Councilmember leaves prior to the end of his or her term?
In case of a vacancy, the remaining Councilmembers will appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the next regularly scheduled election pursuant to RCW 42.12.070
and as outlined in the City Council Rules of Procedure. The Council will publish a notice of the vacancy, the procedure by which the vacancy will be filled, and the application form on the City’s website and distribute the information through other media channels. Interviews of candidates will take place during a meeting open to the public.
How are the Mayor and Deputy Mayor elected? What are the roles of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor?
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected from among the Councilmembers for a two-year term. At the first Council meeting of the even calendar years, the City Clerk will entertain a motion for "nominations" for a Councilmember to serve as Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Approval is by majority vote of Council members present. The Mayor presides at all Council meetings, votes as a Councilmember and does not have any veto power. The Deputy Mayor serves in the Mayor’s absence.
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