Olympia City Manager Vs. Council Authority

The City of Olympia is a council-manager form of government, which means the city council develops policies while the city manager executes those policies. The city council supervises the city manager and has the power to appoint (or dismiss) the city manager. 

Under this form of government, the city manager prepares the budget and has the power to appoint a police chief. The Olympia Police Department is currently run by an interim police chief. 

While Olympia City Manager Jay Burney had been serving as interim city manager since November 2019, he was only appointed to the permanent position on May 12. Burney expects to begin the search for a permanent police chief this fall.

“Covid has really thrown recruitments in a bit of a limbo, because of the inability to meet in groups,” said Burney, noting that he wants to understand what the community is looking for in the next police chief.

Burney said he hopes it will be safe for the city to hold events with larger groups of people in the fall, so community members can participate in the recruitment process for a permanent police chief.

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