Decision to appoint Stacy Goodman splits City Council
March 15, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
In the end, after 20 tense minutes, the City Council elevated Stacy Goodman to a seat left empty after Maureen McCarry resigned last December.
The usually consensus-driven council listened to applicants for a vacant seat for 90 minutes March 1, but needed a couple of rounds of balloting — plus some political maneuvering — March 7 to appoint a successor to McCarry.
In the initial round, council members picked Goodman and applicant Paul Winterstein as top choices — and deadlocked in a 3-3 tie.
“Well, this is tough,” Councilman Fred Butler said after the initial decision.
In the moments after the even split, council members offered explanations in a last-minute attempt to persuade a colleague to change his or her mind.
Councilman Tola Marts backed Winterstein throughout both balloting rounds.
“I believe the two critical components of leadership are vision and judgment, and I believe that I have been lucky enough over the years to see these in ample quantities in Paul,” Marts said.
Council President Traeger also supported Winterstein throughout the process.
“Both candidates are exceedingly well-qualified, and it’s really a tie, in my opinion, as far as qualifications,” Traeger said.
The council narrowed the applicant list from nine candidates to Goodman and Winterstein, a city Human Services Commission member and citizen activist.
“At this level, when everybody is equal, you have to go with what you know,” Traeger said. “But I’ll be happy no matter the outcome, because these are great candidates.”
Butler, Councilwoman Eileen Barber and Councilman Mark Mullet supported Goodman, a former reporter and editor for The Issaquah Press, in both rounds.
“I didn’t always agree with what she wrote about me or the issue that I supported and she did not, but I always respected her for that,” Butler said. “She treated me fairly and she was objective — and somewhat unyielding when it comes to doing the right thing.”
The council, however, needed to be more a little more yielding in order to reach a consensus.
“If everybody just stays with the votes we just made, we’re going to be here all night long with a series of 3-3 ties,” Councilman Joshua Schaer said. “We can just keep having the same three people raising their hands, and we can just do this again and again and again.”
Ultimately, the decision hinged on Schaer. In the initial round, the councilman supported Winterstein.
“I’m usually not one to back down on a decision I make, but again, this is an impossible decision,” Schaer said before the 4-2 decision to appoint Goodman. “It’s going either require me to make that call, or it’s going to require one of my colleagues.”
Under state law, Mayor Ava Frisinger had the authority to cast a tiebreaking vote.
“As a matter of legislative independence, with all due respect, I don’t believe that would be the appropriate way to proceed,” Schaer said. “I believe the council has been vested with this responsibility, and I believe that we should make that determination.”
Members also hinted at the upcoming election for council seats in the run-up to the decision. Issaquah voters decide on the seats held by Butler, Goodman, Schaer and Traeger in November. Only Schaer has entered the race so far, but potential candidates could include the eight unsuccessful applicants for the open seat.
“Paul, I hope that you run for office,” Schaer said from the dais, in a remark directed at Winterstein. “I just hope it’s not against me.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.