City Council bids farewell to outgoing member John Traeger

January 17, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

In a dignified sendoff Dec. 19, City Council members bid farewell to Council President John Traeger.

John Traeger

Traeger decided in late April to step down after a single term as a councilman after leading the council through a busy period.

Other council members elected the technology consultant and Squak Mountain resident to lead the board for 2010 and again for 2011. Under Traeger, council members preserved the forested Park Pointe site near Issaquah High School, hired City Administrator Bob Harrison and embarked on a landmark reorganization of city government.

In addition, the council president runs semimonthly council meetings and monthly Committee-of-the-Whole Council meetings, handles committee assignments and represents the city if Mayor Ava Frisinger is absent.

“I will miss Councilmember Traeger’s presence on the council and his thorough research and good, solid work as a council member,” Frisinger said at the last council meeting Traeger attended as a member.

Then, he accepted a certificate of appreciation from Frisinger as other council members and the audience applauded.

Traeger also led the council through sometimes-challenging sessions to craft lean city budgets for 2011 and 2012.

“I just want to thank my friend and fellow councilmember, John Traeger, for his leadership during budget this year, and he’ll be missed next year,” Councilmember Tola Marts said.

The budget compliment also prompted some ribbing from Councilman Fred Butler, the No. 2 official on the council.

“But we would certainly invite him back as an observer if he can find where we’re meeting,” he quipped — a reference to the distant City Hall conference room used for budget meetings.

Traeger served on the Development Commission for a dozen years before joining the council. Since joining the council in December 2007, Traeger and other members trimmed spending to account for the recession and ended plans for the Southeast Bypass roadway across Tiger Mountain.

Traeger and former Councilman David Kappler attracted criticism in 2007, after the candidates filed to run for the same seat and then, at the last minute, Kappler pulled out of the race for the Position 6 seat and filed for another post.

The maneuver left Traeger as the sole candidate for the Position 6 seat. (Members serve at large and represent the entire city, rather than specific neighborhoods or defined geographic areas.)

Kappler later defeated another challenger to remain on the council until December 2009.

Traeger’s successor on the council is Paul Winterstein, a Squak Mountain resident active in efforts to bolster transportation options and human services in the city. Winterstein joined the council in early January after running unopposed for the Position 6 seat.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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