ashland.news
July 14, 2024

City Corner: Here’s how you can run for city office

The positions of mayor, four city councilors and two parks commissioners will be on the Ashland municipal ballot in November. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
June 26, 2024

Ashland will elect a mayor, four councilors and two parks commissioners in fall; the city can help candidates with the process

By City of Ashland staff

Thinking about running for elected office? Elected officials are key leaders who listen to the community, set the vision for the future, and adopt policies to help make that vision happen. What do elected officials do? What positions are open? How do I run for office?

If you are interested in running and have questions after reading this, please set up an appointment with our city recorder: recorder@ashlandoregon.gov. We’re here to help.

What do the City Council and the Parks & Recreation Commission do?

Mayor / City Councilor

The City Council decides which policies the city will implement. This includes setting tax rates, distributing resources (such as setting the annual budget), approving large-scale projects and designing local laws and policies that fall within the categories below. The City Council also selects and oversees the city manager and city attorney, who are responsible for implementing the policies the City Council adopts.

  • Public Safety: police, fire, and ambulance services
  • Utilities: water, sewer, electricity
  • Land Use: planning, zoning, code enforcement, and other regulatory activities
  • Transportation: street construction and maintenance, traffic safety
  • Legal: public health, safety, and welfare of the community
  • Intergovernmental Relationships: relationships with other local governments

Parks Commissioner

The Parks Commission decides which policies Parks & Recreation will implement. This includes distributing resources (such as setting the annual budget), approving large-scale projects and designing local laws and policies that fall within the categories below. The Parks Commission also selects and oversees the Parks & Recreation director, who is responsible for implementing the policies the commission adopts.

  • Park safety
  • Park maintenance and operations
  • Open space
  • Recreation programs

What parts do the mayor, councilors and parks commissioner play?

Mayor: The mayor serves on council and is the presiding officer during council meetings and as the city’s ceremonial head for events, media, and other community-engagement activities. The mayor engages in discussion as council members deliberate on decisions, but votes only to break a tie during council meetings.

City Councilor: The City Council acts as a whole to develop city policy and legislation. There is little to no authority vested in any individual councilor. Instead, individual councilors bring their unique skills and learned experience to the table and must work with other councilors to decide on city policy and legislation. The City Council also appoints and oversees the work of the city manager and city attorney, but no other staff members. When making decisions, each city councilor has one vote.

Parks Commissioner: Here in Ashland, our public parks are overseen by a board separate from the City Council. Parks commissioners design policy and legislation that impacts parks — and no other aspect of city services. The Parks Commission also appoints and oversees the work of the Parks & Recreation director.

What is the time commitment?

Mayor/City Councilor

The Mayor and City Councilors report spending on average anywhere from 10-25 hours per week on City business. This includes reading information packets, attending various meetings, and staying engaged with the committees and commissions they support. The more time you put into preparing for meetings, the smoother and more effective meetings tend to be.

  • First and third Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Study sessions (typically 2.5 hours)
  • First and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. Council meetings (typically 3.5 hours)
  • Meeting one on one every other week with the city manager (typically 1 hour)
  • Committee/Commission assignments
  • Quarterly retreats

Parks Commissioner

Parks Commissioners report spending anywhere from five to 10 hours per week on parks business. This includes reading information packets, attending various meetings and staying engaged with the committees they support. The more time you put into preparing for meetings, the smoother and more effective meetings tend to be.

  • Second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. Commission meetings (typically 2 hours)
  • Committee assignments
  • Additional meetings as needed

Do I get paid for my time?

The mayor and city councilors receive a $900 stipend every month.

Parks commissioners do not receive a stipend; they are considered volunteers.

If elected, are there specific rules I must follow? How will I get up to speed?

Yes! If you are elected to the role of mayor, city councilor or parks commissioner, there are specific rules you must follow. Those rules include public meeting laws, public record laws and ethics requirements. The city will host a series of trainings so elected officials know clearly what is permissible and not permissible in their roles.

As for getting up to speed, before you are sworn into your role, the city will host an orientation at which you will learn about core services, meet department heads and get some basic training on public meeting law, public records and ethics. And that’s just the beginning! Over the next few months, your check-ins with city staff will focus on core issues, city processes and anything else you feel like you need to best fill your role.

How can I learn more?

  • Attend an information session on at 5:30 p.m. July 17 at Council Chambers 1175 E. Main St.
  • Read The Basics of Local Government.
  • Ask former city councilors or parks commissioners about their experience serving the community!

Open Positions for the Nov. 5 General Election

MayorTonya Grahamfour-year term
City Council Position 1Paula Hyattfour-year term
City Council Position 2Dylan Bloomtwo-year term*
City Council Position 3Jeff Dahlefour-year term
City Council Position 5Gina DuQuennefour-year term
APRC Position 1Stefani Seffingerfour-year term
APRC Position 2Jim Lewisfour-year term

Eligibility requirements
  • Registered to vote in Ashland. Verify your voter status.
  • Live within Ashland’s city limits.

To learn more

Visit: Elections | Ashland, OR (ashlandoregon.gov)

Note: Out of fairness to other candidates, Ashland.news does not allow candidates for office to have a column in the run-up to elections. With so many of the current councilors running for reelection, “Council Corner” will now be “City Corner,” featuring columns from city staff in addition to columns by those councilors not running for reelection. Email letters to the editor and viewpoint submissions to news@ashland.news.

Picture of Jim

Jim

Related Posts...

Latest posts

‘Telling the American narrative’: SOU to conduct archaeological investigations of historic eastern Oregon logging town this fall

With a newly funded $20,000 grant from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, some Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology Program students and staff will travel to eastern Oregon this fall to perform archaeological excavations for a logging ghost town that once was home to a diverse community in the early 20th century, including African-American and white loggers.

Read More >

Explore More...

As fall approaches, the Ashland Independent Film Festival volunteers and coordinators prepare for the festival's triumphant return to the Rogue Valley. With a new executive director, the festival is set to involve plenty of new ideas, events and programs while maintaining the classic film festival experience.
With a newly funded $20,000 grant from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, some Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology Program students and staff will travel to eastern Oregon this fall to perform archaeological excavations for a logging ghost town that once was home to a diverse community in the early 20th century, including African-American and white loggers.
“Don’t let your inability to do everything stop you from doing one thing. And reckoning with racial injustice in the United States is a big task.” That was what Taylor Stewart, Oregon Remembrance Project founder, said in the Ashland Sunrise Project’s latest talk, “Uncovering Difficult Truths.”
A crossword about local news sources. Solve it directly in the article or download a PDF to print. More crosswords under the Culture menu.
The Siskiyou Crest Coalition is hosting a fundraiser Saturday afternoon, July 13, at a private conserved property on the slopes of Mount Ashland owned by Mark Newberger. A butterfly species list is being compiled for the property, which will be the subject of an upcoming article in the North American Butterfly Association magazine and will be a nominee for NABA butterfly garden of the year. 
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)

Don't Miss Our Top Stories

Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox three times a week.
It’s FREE and you can cancel anytime.