Union Gap residents hope Prop. 1 takes them in the right direction

Union Gap residents hope Prop. 1 takes them in the right direction

UNION GAP, Wash. -- Union Gap is moving forward with a massive change to local government. Voters are doing away with the strong mayor in favor of a city manager with more power.

Mayor Jim Lemon told Action News Tuesday night he was relieved.

In a small town of just 6,000 people, there are still a lot of questions. While many agree Union Gap needed some change, they hope it's a change in the right direction.

Terry Jones said he's tired of the bickering. Tired of not trusting his city leaders. And, he's not alone.

"I think a lot of people are going, 'We just like to fly under the radar.' We're a small town and suddenly we have more controversy and questions then maybe some of the larger cities," Jones said.

Lemon has often been the center of controversy in Union Gap. He's being sued by two former employees. And the mold infested city hall brought his management into question.

Council member Dan Olsen spearheaded Proposition One.

"I really think it's a good thing because it takes politics out of City Hall," Olsen said. "There's been a lot of problems in City Hall. Long term for the city of Union Gap, we need professional people to run the city.

On election night Lemon said he's not sad to turn over his mayor hat, but he thinks the voters don't realize what they lost.

"They no longer have a mayor that can go against the council and veto the council and challenge the council," Lemon said.

The new city manager will have the power to hire, fire and discipline city employees but not to veto.

Still people in this city say this could be a step in the right direction.

All of the changes would take effect after the new year. A new mayor will be elected by city council.

The mayor will become a more symbolic leader similar to Yakima.