City Council & Mayor

Olympia City Councilmembers

About the Olympia City Council

Olympia's City Councilmembers are part-time City employees. They devote, on average, 15-25 hours per week to Council business. Some Councilmembers have full time careers in addition to their City Council duties.

The seven members on Olympia's City Council are elected to four year terms from the community as-a-whole (commonly called at-large elections), not from districts or wards. The positions are non-partisan. The terms are staggered, with positions ending for three members at one time and four members the next. Olympia City Council elections are part of the Thurston County general election held in odd-numbered years.

Position 1 is designated as the Mayor's position. The Mayor is elected by the citizens to that position. In Olympia, the Mayor and Councilmembers have equal voting authority, with the Mayor voting on all issues as one of seven Councilmembers.

Annually, the City Council selects one of its members to be Mayor Pro Tem so that there is a previously designated Councilmember to assume the Mayor's duties if needed.

In 1982, the citizens of Olympia voted to change the city's form of government from a three-member Commission to the Council-Manager model. The Council-Manager form of government is similar to a business corporate model, with the Council serving as the Board of Directors who sets executive policy. The Mayor is the Chairman of the Board, and the City Manager is hired by the City Council as the Chief Executive Officer. By state law, the Mayor and Councilmembers may not hire, discharge, or direct any administrative staff other than the City Manager.

In addition to the City Manager, the Olympia City Council also hires a Hearing Examiner.

Olympia incorporated in 1859 and celebrated its 150th birthday in 2009. View a list of Olympia's elected officials from 1859 to the present.

Open Government

The Olympia City Council is committed to an open and responsive government.

  • City Council's Tuesday evening business meetings and study sessions are televised live on Olympia Cable Channel 3 (TCTV) and made available for online viewing through this website.
  • The Council's weekly meeting agenda and associated documents are posted online by 3:00 p.m. each Thursday for the following week, barring technical difficulties.
  • Up to 30 minutes is set aside at the start of Council's Tuesday evening meetings so that members of the public may share their ideas and comments on City business and activities directly with the City Council, with additional time at the end of the meeting if needed.
  • Each Councilmember maintains a city email address which they personally view. Email and other correspondence to and from Councilmembers is archived and available for public release by contacting the Olympia City Clerk's office.
  • An online process to request access to public documents has been established by the City Clerk's office.
  • All Olympia advisory committee meetings are open to the public.
  • Councilmembers have adopted and published Guidelines for how they conduct business so that the procedures are documented and available to the public.