PA council approves vote on form of government for November

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to put a ballot resolution before voters Nov. 7 that would change the city’s form of government.

If it passes, the measure would require new elections for all seven council members in 2018, including the four members who will be elected in the Nov. 7 election.

The wording for the ballot proposition probably will be brought to the council for approval at the regular May 2 meeting, City Manager Dan McKeen said in an interview after the meeting.

Council members rejected McKeen’s recommendation that the city instead seek a declaratory judgment from a court outside Clallam County on whether the city can change from code status to second-class-city status in order to elect an entirely new council.

McKeen had agreed with a legal analysis by University of Washington Professor Hugh Spitzer that the declaratory judgment was preferable “because of the confusion engendered by the wording” of the petition.

Spitzer had said the petition was “deceptive and misleading” and does not follow the requirements of state law.

But council members said they should heed the will of more than 1,000 people who signed the petition urging the council to go ahead with the ballot measure.

“To do less than that would not be right,” Mayor Patrick Downie said.

“We need to hear from the electorate.”

The ballot title will be written by City Attorney Bill Bloor and submitted to Clallam County Auditor Shoona Riggs for placement on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Before it is put on the ballot, it will be forwarded to the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for review, Riggs said this morning.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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