Structure of Kirkland Government
Kirkland is one of 44 Washington cities operating under the Council-Manager form of government. This system of local government combines the political leadership of elected part-time council members with the managerial experience of an appointed full-time City Manager. The City Council is the legislative body; its members are the community's decision makers. The City Manager is hired to serve the Council and the community in carrying out policies and overseeing the delivery of municipal services.
The City Council consists of seven part-time nonpartisan members, elected at large every two years to staggered, four-year terms. The primary responsibility of the City Council is to establish the policies and guidance necessary to carry out these policies. The City Council appoints the City Manager and the members of Kirkland's advisory boards and commissions. These appointments serve at the pleasure of the City Council and provide it with recommendations and advice.
The Mayor is elected from within the City Council, to serve a two-year term. The Mayor presides at City Council meetings and represents the City at various ceremonial functions and at other community and intergovernmental meetings. This position does not exercise veto power.
The City Manager serves as the professional administrator of the City and is responsible for coordinating all day-to-day operations and administration. These duties include personnel and labor relations, preparation and administration of the City budget, intergovernmental relations, and organizing the implementation of City Council's policy. The City Manager also serves as the chief advisor to the City Council. The City Manager appoints a professional staff of department heads to help manage the organization.