City Council begins candidate selection process

By Paul Archipley | Jan 30, 2014

The Edmonds City Council began the process for filling a vacant seat Tuesday, interviewing 14 candidates.

Valerie Stewart, a member of the City’s Planning Board, withdrew her name from consideration.

The remaining applicants include a range from well known to unknown citizens. They are:

Deborah Anderson, Steve Bernheim, Kathleen Dewhirst, Harry Gatjens, Randy Hayden, Tim Healy, Philip Lopresti, Thomas Mesaros,

Carreen Nordling Rubenkonig, Alvin A. Rutledge, Timothy A. Schell, Stephen C. Schroeder, Neil Tibbot and Ron Wambolt.

Each applicant had 15 minutes before the council, followed by councilmember requests for second interviews of some of the applicants.

Those who will be interviewed a second time are Mesaros, Dewhirst, Rubenkonig, Tibbot, Healy, Schroeder, and Gatjens.

City Attorney Jeff Taraday emphasized that being selected for a second interview “in no way is a narrowing down of the candidate list.”

Councilmembers could select candidates for a second interview because they felt they needed to know more about that individual, Taraday explained, while those not asked back for a second interview might already be well known to the council.

The second interviews will take place Tuesday, Feb. 4.

“Then, on Feb. 11,” Council President Diane Buckshnis said, “because we have a great pool of applicants, all will be on the ballot, and the balloting will take place.”

If, during the first rounds of voting the council is unable to agree on a candidate, it will adjourn into executive session where bargaining, horse-trading, arm-twisting and other discussion will take place.

If the council is still unable to agree on a candidate, they may go into executive session a second time. Should that effort also fail, the decision would land before the Snohomish County Council.

Under City code, Mayor Dave Earling cannot break a tie, a limitation that doesn’t bother him.

“This is a council process,” Earling said. “I’ve seen this process play out before, and oftentimes there is a new candidate who emerges if the vote appears to be close.

“If some of the more prominent names can’t gather enough votes, there are some very good candidates.”

The vacancy occurred when former Councilmember Frank Yamamoto resigned in December, citing health reasons.

From the date of the vacancy, the council has 90 days to appoint a qualified candidate – in this case, by Monday, March 31.

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