Yakima City Council Member Neil McClure Resigns Mid-meeting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima City Council Member Neil McClure Resigns Mid-meeting

Posted: Updated:

YAKIMA, Wash-- Yakima City Council is short one member after Neil McClure resigns mid-meeting. It happened at a board meeting that left fellow council members in shock.

"I do believe that philosophically we are all over the map in this room," said Mayor Dave Edler.

Edler had a good read on the political climate of his council Tuesday. 
As they discussed how council should be involved in creating the city budget. Council members Ensey, Lover, Cawley and Coffey, all voted to adopt a new form of city budgeting. It would give council more say in what's funded. 

Rodriguez and Edler didn't agree and apparently McClure wanted more time to discuss what role the council should play with city budgeting.

"Amendment fails," announces Edler after a vote. "I'm going to go ahead effectively immediately resign from the Yakima City Council so I won't take a vote, good luck," said McClure.

While McClure's departure may appear to be abrupt its actually been a long time in the making. It stems around a debate. What's the function of city council? Are they policy makers or something else?

McClure wasn't available for comment today, but KNDO spoke with him in December. He made his ideology clear.

"I have a real strong belief that councils job is to be a director of policy not a manager," said McClure.

Council member Lover said the new form of budgeting will be more transparent and city council's priorities will be reflected.

"When I say input up front I say prioritizing levels of spending at the division level. We weren't going to micro manage anything," said Lover.

But, not everyone thinks a change in budget policy is that cut and dry.

"This is a power play, these three guys want to set the city manager aside," said Ron Bonlender, former Yakima City Council member.

It's still uncertain whether or not McClure's resignation is legally binding. Either way council members don't think it's likely McClure will take back his resignation.