Voters could know by the end of the week whether their fall ballots will include a proposal to put the mayor in charge of running Tacoma’s city government.
Pierce County election officials are working to verify thousands of signatures submitted in support of the measure.
The issue would amend the city’s charter to install a mayor as head of city government instead of a city manager.
It would also reduce the number of City Council seats to seven from eight. The change would preserve the council as an odd-numbered body after the mayor is no longer a member.
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If voters approve the measure, the change would take place in January 2018. Victoria Woodards currently holds the at-large council seat that would be eliminated after her last term expires in 2017.
Political consultant Alex Hays, president of the Pierce County Better Government League, turned in his first batch of signatures last month. Signature gathering began in June, with some autographs collected by volunteers and others by paid signature gatherers who earned close to $4 per signature, Hays said last week.
He estimated Monday that the group has submitted 11,800 signatures. The issue needs 7,197 valid signatures to make the general election ballot.
So far the Pierce County Auditor’s office has examined 4,656 of those signatures, with nearly 70 percent, or 3,173, qualifying as valid. Auditor Julie Anderson said the office could be done verifying the latest batch of signatures by Friday.
If the issue doesn’t qualify in time for the fall ballot, Hays would have until Dec. 16 to collect more signatures to place the item on a spring ballot, Anderson said.