Election winners sworn in

On Tuesday, Coupeville’s mayor and three council members were sworn in after winning in November’s general election. With the oath of office, newly-elected Councilwoman Ann Dannhauer had questions about Mayor Nancy Conard’s dual role as mayor and town administrator.

After the election, Conard was required to bring forward a plan of administration for the town. That plan has her serving as a full-time town administrator and earning the same $58,012 salary that the department heads earn.

She said that she has been reelected two times while serving both roles of mayor and administrator.

“I feel confident that is the will of the community,” Conard said.

Dannhauer, who campaigned against Conard’s dual roles as mayor and city administrator, said that she isn’t comfortable with approving Conard’s plan for administration. She wanted the town to seek applications for the administrator position, and said that Conard didn’t provide enough information about her duties as administrator. Dannhauer said she also wants to see evaluations and recommendations from the people Conard supervises.

Councilman Bob Clay, who won reelection in November, said that he has been on the council as Conard’s role as administrator grew. He liked what he saw.

“I think this is the best arrangement for the town,” Clay said.

Dannhauer expressed the concern that having Conard serve both roles eliminates checks and balances.

Councilwoman Molly Hughes, who also won reelection in November, said the town council ultimately decides who works as administrator by deciding whether to approve the mayor’s plan for administration.

“That’s how we put the check and balance in the ordinance,” Hughes said.

Gordon Burton, who unsuccessfully ran for Conard’s position in November, suggested the town council revise the ordinance concerning the plan for administration. He suggested the ordinance should include having an annual review of the mayor’s performance, require timely completion of scheduled projects, and that the administrator acts with the highest level of integrity at all times.

Dannhauer eventually made a motion to amend the ordinance about the mayor’s duties, however, nobody seconded that motion and it failed.

The town council approved the plan of administration by a four to one margin. Council members Hughes, Clay, Jim Phay and Dianne Binder approved the motion while Dannhauer voted against the motion.

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