The Puyallup City Council selected John Palmer as the new mayor of Puyallup in a 5-2 vote at a meeting Tuesday night.
The Council also selected Tom Swanson as Puyallup deputy mayor.
State law requires city councils to select a mayor every two years at the first meeting of the year.
In the past, the Puyallup City Council selected the member with the most seniority as mayor, but this year there were two possible candidates.
“There are only two people positioned exactly the same, they’re tied — that’s Deputy Mayor Palmer and Council member Swanson,” City Manager Kevin Yamamoto said at the Council meeting.
“We’ve worked out a process for that since we don’t exactly have a process because of our rules,” Palmer said at the meeting.
That process started with statements by both Palmer and Swanson, then gave other Council members a chance to engage with the candidates.
“I think the fact that (Palmer and Swanson are) pretty much polar opposites, working together side by side will ensure that we have a good direction going forward. (Palmer and Swanson) working together will set a course for the Council that is broad and represents everybody,” Council member Julie Door said.
The process ended with a roll call vote, where Palmer was chosen.
Palmer has served the city for the past 10 years and said he looks forward to serving as Puyallup’s mayor.
“I think one of the important roles of the mayor is facilitating a real positive and constructive Council. In my experience, the citizens of Puyallup are much better served when we are working together and working collaboratively to make decisions for you, and I’m excited to work with all of you to do just that. I think we have a lot to do and I think we’re well poised to get a lot done,” Palmer said at the meeting.
I think one of the important roles of the mayor is facilitating a real positive and constructive council… In my experience, the citizens of puyallup are much better served when we are working together and working collaboratively to make decisions for you and I’m excited to work with all of you to do just that. I think we have a lot to do and I think we’re well poised to get a lot done.
John Palmer, Mayor of Puyallup
Yamamoto clarified that duties of the Puyallup mayor differ from other cities.
The mayor position in the city of Puyallup is different from what’s typically known of as a strong mayor position, Yamamoto said.
“Our particular form of government means the Council, by law, selects from its membership one of its members to be the presiding member of the City Council,” he said.
Moving forward, the Council could always choose to eliminate the rule to use “seniority” as a factor for determining mayor and select a new mayor.
New City Council members Jim Kastama and Cynthia Jacobsen and Door, who was reelected, were also sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting.