MOSES LAKE – Along with seating its newest city council member, the Moses Lake City Council will be selecting the next mayor and deputy mayor at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
It marks the end of an era for outgoing Mayor Karen Liebrecht, the city’s first female mayor. Liebrecht was deputy mayor when first appointed to be the mayor in August 2017 after the mid-term resignation of Mayor Todd Voth.
Winning re-election to her city council position in 2017, Liebrecht was elected by the full city council to serve a full two-year term as mayor in early 2018.
In Moses Lake and many other “weak mayor” cities, mayors are not elected by the public. Instead, residents vote on a slate of city council members, who then vote on a mayor and deputy mayor. As most of the administrative duties held by “strong mayors” are held by the city manager in Moses Lake, the position of mayor is largely ceremonial.
Notably, however, the mayor is also recognized by the governor for purposes of military law in times of emergency.
Only city council members who have served on the council for a full two years can be considered for either position, according to councilmember and former mayor Daryl Jackson. It was not immediately clear if city or state ordinances mandated that requirement, and City Attorney Katherine Kenison did not respond to a request for clarification.
That requirement would bar from consideration the council’s newest member, David Eck, who will be seated for his first council meeting Tuesday. Councilmember Dean Hankins was appointed to his seat in April 2018, just short of the two-year requirement, and would also not be up for consideration.
The deputy mayor position will also be filled Tuesday by a majority vote of the council. Like the mayor, the position is largely ceremonial, though the holder is expected to fill in, as Liebrecht did in 2017, if the current mayor can no longer fulfill his or her duties.
Both positions are for a term of two years and will expire in 2022.