City Council & Mayor

About the Olympia City Council

City Council ChambersOlympia'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 business and employment careers in addition to their duties on the City Council.

The seven members on Olympia's City Council are elected to four year terms from the community as-a-whole, 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 the Hearing Examiner.

Current Olympia City Councilmembers

Postal Mail:

Olympia City Council
PO Box 1967
Olympia, WA 98507-1967


Option #1. Send individual emails to Councilmembers. Councilmembers have individual email addresses. You will find the email address on each Councilmember's web page.

Option #2. Send a single email to the Council's central email box: Your email sent to this address will be forwarded to all City Councilmembers by the Council's secretary during normal working hours.

All written correspondence to the Olympia City Council, including email, is a public record, potentially eligible for release upon request.

At a City Council Meeting

See "Providing Public Testimony in the following section.

City Council Meetings

Olympia City Council meetings are usually held on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm in the City Council Chambers at Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Avenue E, unless otherwise noticed. Council meetings are televised live on TCTV, Cable Channel 3, and made available for online viewing the following day.

Testimony Sign-In
Anyone who wishes to address the City Council during Public Communication is asked to sign in on the appropriate sheet in the lobby of the Council Chambers before the start of the meeting. The doors to the Council Chambers are usually opened 30 mintues before the start of the meeting. At the start of the meeting, the sign-in sheet is collected by City staff and given to the Mayor. Please note that the sign-in sheet is a public record, potentially eligible for release upon request.

Regular Time Scheduled for Public Testimony
Unless otherwise noticed, up to 30 minutes near the start of each weekly Council meeting is reserved for public comment on issues related to City business, except for items where the City Council has either held a Public Hearing in the prior 45 days or scheduled a public hearing to be held within 45 days, or quasi-judicial matters. Usually, comments are limited to three minutes per person.

At the end of 30 minutes, Public Communication is closed so that the Council may attend to the rest of its business. If more people sign up for Public Communication than can be accommodated in 30 minutes, the Council will continue Public Communication until the end of the meeting for those people who signed up by the start of the meeting and did not have a chance to speak in the initial 30 minutes of comment.

Quasi-Judicial Matters

The City Council normally operates as a policy-making body. In its policy-making role, the Council routinely gathers information at public hearings, from informal conversations with citizens and others, from memoranda prepared by City staff, and from other sources. In a quasi-judicial proceeding, the Council is not adopting a new, citywide policy. Instead the Council, as a group, acts similar to a judge. They consider evidence for and against a proposal and issue a finding based on the record of evidence and testimony. State law and court rulings regarding appearance of fairness apply to quasi-judicial matters. It is the practice of the Olympia City Council to only accept testimony on quasi-judicial matters during a Public Hearing noticed in advance on the Council’s agenda for that specific purpose.

Council Meeting Management
The Mayor is the chair of Council meetings and is responsible for conduct of the meeting in keeping with Council guidelines, legal requirements, and accepted meeting management norms. According to the Council's guidelines, the Mayor is empowered to curtail or prohibit testimony that is overly repetitive or lengthy, beyond the reasonable scope of City business, or of a nature that would endanger the safety or wellbeing of the persons attending the meeting. The Mayor is also empowered to establish time constraints on testimony, if necessary, to prevent unreasonable delay in the Council meeting.

Special Accomodations
If you require special accommodations during your attendance at a City Council meeting, please phone the Council's secretary at 360-753-8244 at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting. For the hearing impaired, please contact us by dialing Washington State Relay Service at 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6384.

  • Read information on the State of Washington Attorney General's website about Open Public Meetings.

Agendas and Minutes

Council (and Advisory Committee) meeting agendas are posted on the City's Legislative Management System by 3 p.m. the Thursday before the meeting. Meeting minutes are posted following Council review and approval.

Council Committees and Assignments

The Olympia City Council has three standing committees and one ad hoc committee. In addition, Councilmembers also are assigned positions on numerous interjurisdictional boards.

Council Guidelines and Priorities

The City Council Guidebook contains Council procedures and practices. It is reviewed by the General Government Committee biennially and at other times if requested by the City Council.

Each year at its annual goal setting retreat, the City Council identifies key priorities to focus on during the year.