New mayor Kathy Coffey weighs in on new position; Gutierrez ment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New mayor Kathy Coffey weighs in on new position; Gutierrez mentions oath violations

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YAKIMA, WA - Many residents of Yakima are confused following last Tuesday's city council meeting, believing that they should be the ones to vote for the new mayor and assistant mayor. However, that's not how it works in Yakima.

The people of Yakima do vote on who becomes a council member, but it is the council members' decision on which of them become mayor and assistant mayor. 

"The city charter of Yakima is formed in such a manner that actually the city council members elect the city's mayor and assistant mayor," said Kathy Coffey, the new mayor of Yakima.

However, something that did strike up some other questions was a statement from Mayor Coffey: "Well as I said before, it was discussed in executive committee and so I wasn't totally surprised."

Council member Avina Gutierrez agrees that discussions in the executive committee are okay, but there are some things you can't do.

"You're not allowed to take votes in the executive session, but you are allowed to discuss freely about your opinions on an issue," Gutierrez told us.

She also said that you are not allowed to talk about what goes on in the executive sessions.

"I'm not allowed to discuss the conversations in executive session, I will be violating my oath of office."

Reporter Haley Gibbs tried to talk to the City Manager about this to see if discussing the conversations from executive session would be violating a council member's oath, but he simply said the city has released their statement on all matters and would not answer further than that.

An attempt to contact a different attorney to discuss the topic also fell through, as they declined to speak.