Residents Vote Overhwhelmingly to End Nation’s Only Bicameral City Council
EVERETT – According to unofficial results from the city clerk’s office, Everett residents overwhelmingly voted to accept proposed changes to the city’s 119-year old charter, bringing an end to the nation’s only bicameral city council.
The affirmative vote for the proposed overhaul will bring about major changes to Everett’s political landscape in the coming years.
3702 (61.18%) voted in favor of proposed changes while 2349 (38.82%) opposed the ballot question.
Among the most controversial of changes is a reduction in the number of representatives on the council, shifting from a two-tiered legislative body of twenty-five representatives to a single-branch, 11-member council. The new council consists of 6 ward councilors and 5 at-large councilors, all serving two-year terms.
The new charter would also adopt a four-year term for mayor “in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness for the entire city administration” according to the final charter report which was available to all residents.
An additional provision in the new charter establishes a recall process for elected officials, and requires any elected official convicted of a felony to be immediately removed from office. The new charter also calls for periodic reviews of the new charter and a re-codification of the city’s ordinances.
While other municipalities had seen the bicameral form of government come and go, Everett had remained the only municipality in the nation to continue operating under the model.
After several failed attempts in the last two decades, charter review became reality when voters approved and elected members to the body in the last municipal election in 2009. Longtime supporters of the proposed changes believe the existing form of government is too cumbersome for a 21st century municipality of Everett’s size and demographics.
Changes will begin taking effect by the primary election in September of 2013.