The City of Shelton has released information on transitioning from a three-member commission to a seven-member council after the November 7th election was certified. According to a news release, there are several legislative and administrative actions that will take place over the next few weeks in preparation for the transition to a seven member council. The city is required to submit a resolution to the Mason County Elections Department that addresses a variety of procedural matters and calls for a special election for the new council positions. City staff briefed the commission on the required action items at the last two city commission meetings (Nov. 20th & Nov. 27th). The commission will have its first opportunity to pass a resolution addressing those items during the December 4th city commission meeting. The deadline to submit a resolution to the Mason County Elections Department for an early election cycle is December 15th.
The following are matters that will be addressed by the city commission:
- Special Election Request – The commission will need to make an official request to the Mason County Elections Department to hold a special election to fill the four additional council seats.
- Districts vs. At Large – The commission will decide whether councilmembers will be elected at large or via districts. There are three potential options: 1) Seven at large seats. 2) Seven individual district seats. 3) A combination of at large and district seats.
- Councilmember Salary – The commission will select the councilmember salary and benefit compensation structure.
- Meeting Requirements – The commission will determine the new city council meeting requirements, including day of the week on which the meeting will be held, and the frequency of the meetings.
The following are matters that are predetermined by Washington State law:
- While the commission must make the request to hold a special election, the dates and timeline for the special election will be determined by the Mason County Elections Department in accordance with Washington State law.
- The candidate filling period will be determined by the Mason County Elections Department – tentatively scheduled for December 19-21, 2017.
- There will be no withdrawals during the candidate filing period for the special election. Once a candidate has submitted a filing, it cannot be revoked or removed.
- In order to be eligible to hold an elective office, a person must be a registered voter of the city at the time of his or her declaration of candidacy and must have been a resident of the city for a period of at least one year prior to the election.
- Candidates must file for a specific council seat. Even if the commission determines that the council should be selected at large, candidates will be required to run for a specific council seat. (e.g., Seat 1, Seat 2, Seat 3, Seat 4.) If three or more candidates file for any one position, then there will be a primary at the February Election. The top two vote-getters at the February Election will advance to the April Election. If one or two candidates file for any one position, then they will skip the February Election and appear on the April Election ballot.
- In order to maintain the required two year offset in council member election cycles, the term for the three candidates that receive the highest vote totals in the general special election will end in 2021. The term for the candidate that receives the lowest vote total will end in 2019. In every election cycle thereafter, candidates will be elected to serve the standard four year term.
- The three sitting commissioners will keep their seats and serve the remainder of their current term as council members. Once the four new council seats have been filled, the council will appoint a member of the council to serve as mayor for a two year term. Thereafter, the council will appoint a member of the council to serve as mayor every two years.