City government change makes ballot

The switch to a strong-mayor could be up to voters to decide this November.

Barring any legal challenges, Tacoma voters will get the chance to decide this fall if they want to eliminate the city manager position in favor of a strong mayor form of government.

A petition drive by a group called Time for a Change has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot this November, the Pierce County Auditor’s Office has reported.

If the measure passed in the general election, not only would the form of government change, but the number of City Council seats would be reduced from nine to seven.

Mayor Baarsma would become the city’s chief executive officer on Jan. 1. His current seat would be filled by appointment to bring the council up to nine members through 2005, after which the appointed City Council position would disappear, as would the at-large Position 6.

The council would be made up of seven members, two at-large and five district representatives.

The drive for a change in city government was sparked by Police Chief David Brame killing his wife , Crystal, and then committing suicide in April. Former City Manager Ray Corpuz appointed Brame to the position of chief.

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