Mayor Chris Beutler has vetoed Resolution 16-26R, which calls for putting a City Charter amendment on professional service contracts on the May 10 primary election ballot. In his veto letter to the Council, Beutler said reducing Mayoral authority is a step backward for the growing City and could add weeks to the development process.
"During my time in the Mayor's Office, we went from a City where entrepreneurs disparaged our development process to one where developers now routinely compliment City Hall on the speed at which we operate," Beutler wrote. "Mayoral management of contracts, as currently outlined in our City Charter, is a critical facet of that achievement. Efforts to weaken and bog down that management ability threatens the tremendous progress our community has enjoyed these last eight years.
"Supporters of Resolution 16-26R claim the impact will be minimal," he continued, "but the truth is that construction and improvement projects that create progress all across the community will be greatly slowed and inhibited."
The Resolution would change the City Charter to give the City Council, not the Mayor, the authority to create rules for how professional service contracts are handled. The City Council approved the Resolution by a vote of four to three February 8. Overriding the veto would require at least five votes.
Beutler wrote that the impetus for the Resolution was one City Council member's concern over two contracts out of the thousands he has signed. "It does not make sense to permanently change what is essentially the City's Constitution for a problem that does not exist."
The Mayor wrote that his Administration has established processes that balance expediency with the need for oversight, and he said additional oversight is not necessary. "No administration has worked harder than ours to be transparent and open to the needs of the community," he wrote. "We will continue our work to make our City government even more open and accessible to all." Beutler said he supports Council member Jane Raybould's proposal to increase public reporting. Increasing transparency, he said, provides accountability without adding red tape and bureaucracy.
"Reducing Mayoral authority is a disservice to the strong community we have built and the voters who entrusted us with leading our community," Beutler wrote. "If we are to remain a competitive, transparent and vibrant City of the 21st century, we must continue to operate like one."