Union Gap voters face more decisions - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Union Gap voters face more decisions

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Union Gap, WASH.--Come November, Union Gap could start to see some big changes.

Council member Dan Olson had some help in collecting around 115 signatures to put the notion of changing the city's government on the November ballot.  There were only 95 signatures needed.

Olson said, "There is no leadership and there is no management. We need professional management, professional leadership that knows how to run a city, keep track of employees."

The type of leadership that Olson is referring to is adding the position of a city manager. The city manager would wipe out the role of mayor, which is currently filled by Jim Lemon.

"I just see this as one more attempt to try and usurp the mayor's powers and really if things are going good why change it," said Lemon. "Because there are some employee issues at times, but anybody is going to have employee issues."

Lack of city employees is an issue, but a big problem that seems to be striking a nerve has to do with city money. Lemon believes council members will take away funds from safety services and put them instead towards remodeling Main Street. Olson said the city is wasting funds on benefits when they really should be putting it in reserves.

"We just gave a 3.5 percent raise to the police and I didn't vote for that," said Olson. "It's not something against the police, but in the economic situation we've got everybody ought to just cool it and not worry about raises right now."

Lemon said, "[Some council members will vote to reduce the number of police and firemen] In the name of trying to divert a lot of this money that goes to employees and levels of safety services to our town, which has helped keep our town on such a good safe place to live."

If voters lean toward the change in government, Mayor Lemon will finish out his term as a council member.  His term ends in 2016. City council will vote on it Monday night as a formality.

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