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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Local government

Airway Heights will change how it picks its mayor

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 9, 2021

Airway Heights is seen in this March 2020 aerial photo.  (JESSE TINSLEY)
Airway Heights is seen in this March 2020 aerial photo. (JESSE TINSLEY)

Airway Heights will become more like other Washington cities run by a City Council and city manager after a vote by the public Tuesday.

Proposition 1 was passing after returns were counted Tuesday evening, with 59.8% of Airway Heights ballots cast in favor of the measure changing how the mayor is chosen.

The measure asked voters of the West Plains city of 8,500 residents to approve a mayoral election that mimics most Washington cities with a council-manager form of government. In such a system, the mayor is an equal member of the ruling council, with only the ceremonial role of chairing public meetings.

Four cities in Washington with such systems choose a mayor by the vote of the people every four years. Another 50 take the approach used by Spokane Valley, Walla Walla and others, allowing the council to choose a mayor from among its ranks to serve for two years.

With the results of Tuesday’s election, Airway Heights joins those other 50 cities. The proposition does not change the number of elected City Council members, which will remain at seven. They are chosen by voters throughout the city.

A vote for the mayor by the public was a holdover from when Airway Heights had the strong mayor form of government, currently in use by the city of Spokane, said City Administrator Albert Tripp. The Airway Heights City Council began discussing a change to the electoral process in 2015.

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