UPDATE: Kennewick City Council Votes to Change City Council Stru - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Kennewick City Council Votes to Change City Council Structure

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The council will decide this week whether to change the ward distribution of city council seats. The council will decide this week whether to change the ward distribution of city council seats.
KENNEWICK, WA - After a discussion where all council members and the Mayor weighed in, an ordinance changing how the Kennewick City Council members represent the city has passed 4 to 2.


Now, there will be one council member from each of the three wards of Kennewick voted in by the residents living in those wards, and 4 council members 'at large' voted on by all residents of Kennewick. 


The old system featured two council members per ward and one at large council member. 


Part of the reason this ordinance was brought up is after a change of the ward boundaries, two long time council members would have had to run against each other.

"I like serving as an individual representing all of the city of Kennewick, I have a passion for this city and everybody that lives in it. Whether it's the east side the west side of down the middle," said Kennewick Mayor Steve Young about the change.


With the change council members Bob Olson and Paul Parrish will now have to decide whether or not to run against each other for the ward 2 position or for one of them to run at large.




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There could be changes coming to the structure of Kennewick's City Council.

The council will decide this week whether to change the ward distribution of city council seats. Currently of the seven city council members in Kennewick we have one “at large” member voted in by the entire city and 6 members chosen by the wards they live in. That's two from each of the three wards. After this week there could be more future members representing the city at large.

"One of the things that has come up in the past is that there's been really great candidates who wanted to run for City Council but they might not be in the right ward so this certainly provides opportunity for more people to run for positions on City Council," said Evelyn Lusignan who works as a spokesperson for the city.

If the proposed changes are rejected it will force two long standing and current council members to run against each other after boundary changes recently moved council member Bob Olson's home from ward 1 to ward 2.

"That is a situation that presents itself in 2015 but there were lots of other items on the table to consider for this."

One of those considerations is that changing three of the positions to at large positions would give the voters more options according to the city. The entire city population gets to vote for those candidates rather than just the people who live in their neighborhoods.

"All of our council members, once they're on council they represent the entire city and the things that are before them are decisions that affect every resident regardless of where they live."

As far as voting goes ward candidates are currently selected during primaries but all of the candidates go up for vote across the city during the general election. If the proposal is adopted we'd still have one representative from each ward in the 2015 primary and four members at large.

"Whether they are in a ward or at large they all do a great job in representing us and I can say that working for the city and also being a resident of Kennewick."

If the changes are voted in, council members Olson and Paul Parish will still have to decide whether or not to run against each other for the ward 2 position or for one of them to run at large.

The decision on these changes will be made Tuesday night at the city council meeting. 
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