New Mayor Tony Anderson Wastes No Time in Setting New Tone For City Government
by Greg Wright
The January 10 Regular City Council Meeting signaled the end of one era and the beginning of a new one as the newly-constituted City Council appointed incumbent member Tony Anderson as Mayor and controversially re-elected member Mia Gregerson as Deputy Mayor.
Two outgoing Council members, Ralph Shape and Gene Fisher, had both served as Deputy Mayor and Mayor during their tenures, and former Mayor Terry Anderson failed to win reappointment in a 3-4 roll call vote along partisan lines. Terry Anderson was also denied appointment as Deputy Mayor by the same vote, with Tony Anderson, Mia Gregerson, Dave Bush, and Barry Ladenburg taking the majority in both instances. (See video below for the swearing in of Anderson, Gregerson, Bush, and Ladenburg.)
The same majority won out in roll call votes in Tony Anderson’s and Gregerson’s appointments. (Also see below for a video of the roll call vote appointing Mia Gregerson.)
With Mayor Tony Anderson taking a strong and swiftly efficient lead on Agenda Bills replacing Council Committees with joint Study Sessions and establishing a permanent Community Building Committee with Mayoral appointments, city government has shifted overnight from a folksy and loosely-run small-town feel to a tightly-orchestrated and hyper-efficient big-city approach.
In what seems to fly in the face of opposition to the Strong Mayor form of government, actions at Tuesday night’s meeting establish Tony Anderson as perhaps the strongest Mayor in SeaTac’s history, presiding not only over Regular and Special City Council Meetings but also all City Council business. The newly established Study Sessions, held twice monthly on the same days as Council meetings, eliminate the chairmanships of the now-defunct various Council Committees. The move, resulting from an Agenda Bill sponsored by Tony Anderson, will no doubt improve the efficiency of moving agenda items through the political process, but it also weakens the voice of Council minority members Rick Forschler, Pam Fernald, and now ex-Mayor Terry Anderson.
Further, the Study Sessions also make no provision for citizen input, making public comment prior to Council vote on Agenda Bills largely moot in the face of what will most often be rubber-stamp votes by the Mayor-led majority.
Proposed amendments to both Agenda Bills by Forschler and Fernald were voted down by the Mayor-led majority.
The newly-created Community Building Committee seemingly takes on a new level of importance in the face of a disenfranchised minority opinion and short-circuited public input to the committee process.
The meeting was opened by a presentation of the colors by SeaTac fine Police and Fire Explorers (see below for video).
See the details of Agenda Bills 3396 and 3373 here, pages 9-22.
The Presentation of Colors
Council Members Sworn In
Roll Call Vote