Candidates jockey for open seat ahead of Feb. 4 deadline

February 1, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The race to replace Maureen McCarry started long before Election Day, and although the candidates only need to earn City Council members’ votes, the race to fill the seat in November is a key part of the decision.

The process has generated more activity in recent days, as potential candidates started to meet council members on a one-on-one basis and interested residents completed applications for the post. The application deadline is Feb. 4, and candidate interviews start March 1.

The appointee to the vacant seat serves until the next council election in November. The victor in the council race serves until Dec. 31, 2013.

The council could appoint a caretaker to the seat until the term expires in December. Members could also appoint someone who is interested in campaigning for election to the seat through 2013.

Though the application deadline is still days away, the vacancy has attracted a handful of applicants and potential candidates.

Issaquah Highlands resident Stacy Goodman, a Carson & Noel PLLC associate attorney and past editor of The Issaquah Press, said she plans to apply.

“I think it’s a terrific opportunity to get involved,” she said. “It’s an exciting time with a lot of projects and decisions that are in the beginning stages.”

Nina Milligan, a highlands resident and Urban Village Development Commission member, has applied for the open seat.

“In my interests and the things I enjoy grappling with — land-use issues and how a community grows — it seems like a good place to apply those energies and the interests I have for the future of Issaquah,” she said.

Former Councilman Joe Forkner has also applied for the post. The council turned to him in 2006 to fill a vacancy after Councilwoman Nancy Davidson resigned.

“I’ve got seven years of experience under my belt as a City Council member” and extensive experience in other city and community roles, he said.

Other city board and commission members could be among the list of residents applying for the seat.

If past council vacancies offer a guide, the city can expect numerous applicants for the open seat.

The most recent council vacancy attracted 12 applicants, but one candidate dropped out before the interview. The opening in 1997, created after then-Councilwoman Ava Frisinger left to serve as mayor, included 10 applicants.

McCarry resigned Dec. 20, less than a year into a four-year term.

The complete list of applicants for the Position 5 opening should be available Feb. 7.

The vote to appoint a member to the council is scheduled for March 7. The victor needs a majority vote from the six remaining council members in order to be seated.

McCarry has also been involved in the ongoing process to fill her old seat.

“I have reached out to some of our community members who I believe would bring a fresh vision to the council. It was also important that they would run again in 2011 and 2013,” she wrote in response to e-mailed questions. “I didn’t want a person that was a placeholder or seeing the appointment path as easier than being elected by the people.”

McCarry said Goodman and Milligan had spoken to her about the open seat.

“I thought they were very involved in their community and committed to doing a good job,” McCarry wrote.

The appointment process is familiar, because the council appointed her to fill Frisinger’s old seat in 1998.

“It is very important to be clear and articulate in what you believe,” McCarry wrote. “The goal of council is reasoned and wise communication.”

Get involved

Issaquah residents can apply for a City Council vacancy until 5 p.m. Feb. 4.

Qualified candidates must be at least 18 years old, registered to vote and have resided in Issaquah for at least a year prior to the appointment.

Candidates must submit a letter of interest and a completed application. The application includes a short form and questions. Candidates can then submit additional information to the City Clerk’s Office until 5 p.m. Feb. 14. Residents can download the application at the municipal website.

Candidates can e-mail the packet to City Clerk Tina Eggers at tinae@ci.issaquah.wa.us; drop items off at City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, during regular business hours; or mail the materials to City Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 1307, Issaquah, WA 98027.

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