At their first meeting of 2012, the city council on Tuesday unanimously elected Councilmember Conrad Lee to serve as Bellevue mayor. Councilmember Jennifer Robertson was chosen deputy mayor, also by a unanimous vote. Lee is the first member of an ethnic minority to serve as Bellevue’s mayor. Previously the deputy mayor, Lee succeeds Councilmember Don Davidson, whose two-year term as mayor concluded at the end of 2011.
Also, John Stokes was publicly sworn in as Bellevue’s newest city councilmember. He was narrowly elected to the Position 1 seat formerly held by Grant Degginger, who decided not to seek re-election.
Stokes has served on the Parks & Community Services Board and on the Bellevue School District’s fiscal advisory committee. A retired attorney, he has lived in Bellevue since 1991.
"I'm excited to take my seat on the council. It's an honor to serve," Stokes said Wednesday. "Bellevue is a terrific city with dynamic residents. I look forward to taking up the challenges before us."
City workers get cost of living adjustment
As part of the update for the 2011-2012 mid-biennial budget review process, councilmembers approved 2012 cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for city employees, who had gone without a COLA in 2010 and 2011.
The COLAs are tied to the federal government’s consumer price index (CPI), which was pegged at 3.7 percent. That resulted in COLAs ranging from 3.3 to 3.7 percent for most city employees in 2012.
Because the CPI was significantly higher than the 1.6 percent the city had forecast, the COLAs will result in an increase of $650,000 for the general fund budget. It’s part of a larger $6.5 million deficit, most of which the council has already addressed through cost-cutting measures.
To close the budget gap caused by the larger-than-expected CPI, city officials will consider the use of furlough days for non-essential city staff.
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