Mayor Ava Frisinger reflects on accomplishments

February 5, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013

Mayor Ava Frisinger, a steady leader amid more than decade of transformation, plans to retire after guiding Issaquah through a transition from small town to a boomtown in 16 years at City Hall.

Ava Frisinger

Ava Frisinger

The announcement did not come as a surprise to other elected leaders or residents active in municipal government. Frisinger said in early 2009 she did not intend to run for a fifth term as mayor in 2013.

But the decision to include the announcement in a farewell State of the City address Monday enabled Frisinger to cast the annual speech as valedictory on accomplishments from the last decade and a half.

The mayor glanced back to 1998 — before officials opened a modern City Hall along East Sunset Way and as initial residents settled into the Issaquah Highlands, a then-novel urban village carved into the hillside above Interstate 90.

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Joe Forkner launches campaign for Issaquah mayor

February 4, 2013

NEW — 3 p.m. Feb. 4, 2013

Less than a week after rejoining the City Council, longtime community leader and seasoned Councilman Joe Forkner entered the race for mayor Monday.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

The announcement set up a contest between Forkner and a colleague, Council President Fred Butler. The councilmen hope to lead the city once Mayor Ava Frisinger steps down in January 2014 after 16 years in the top job at City Hall.

Forkner, 59, worked for the city in the past and served on the council in recent stints — from 2000 to 2005, and to fill a vacancy from September 2006 to late 2007. The latest appointment, a 10-month stint approved Jan. 29 in a 4-2 decision, caps a busy period after Forkner led the citizen panel responsible for outlining redevelopment in the business district.

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City Council appoints Joe Forkner to open seat

January 29, 2013

NEW — 6:20 p.m. Jan. 29, 2013

Joe Forkner returned to the City Council on Tuesday after a divided council appointed the former councilman, onetime city employee and longtime community leader to a vacant seat.

The council appointed a successor to former Councilman Mark Mullet after about 15 minutes of discussion.

Members nominated Forkner and longtime Development Commission member Mary Lou Pauly for the post. The council chose Forkner in a 4-2 decision.

The seat opened Jan. 8 after Mullet departed to serve in Olympia. The entrepreneur and former banking executive defeated Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft to represent the 5th Legislative District in the state Senate.

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City Council shifts top leadership positions

January 29, 2013

The leadership atop the City Council shifted in early January, as the group chose a longtime councilman to lead the council again.

In unanimous decisions Jan. 7, council members chose Fred Butler for the top spot on the board, council president, and Paul Winterstein to serve in the No. 2 position, deputy council president.

The council did not nominate other contenders for either position.

Issaquah voters elected Butler to the council in 1999. Since 2009, he has served as deputy council president after earlier serving as council president.

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City seeks applicants for advisory boards, commissions

January 29, 2013

City leaders need civic-minded citizens to offer advice on important issues as municipal board and commission members.

The city needs applicants for openings on 12 boards and commissions. The groups advise the City Council on issues related to the arts, cable TV, development, parks and, in more specialized realms, city cemetery operations and sister-city relationships.

Meanwhile, officials need regular and alternate members for the 12 existing commissions. The applicants for board and commission posts do not need to reside in Issaquah.

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City seeks applicants for boards, commissions

January 23, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 23, 2013

City leaders need civic-minded citizens to offer advice on important issues as municipal board and commission members.

The city needs applicants for openings on 12 boards and commissions. The groups advise the City Council on issues related to the arts, cable TV, development, parks and, in more specialized realms, city cemetery operations and sister-city relationships.

Meanwhile, officials need regular and alternate members for the 12 existing commissions. The applicants for board and commission posts do not need to reside in Issaquah.

Applicants undergo interviews before Mayor Ava Frisinger recommends appointees to the council for confirmation. The council usually confirms appointees in April, and terms for appointees start in May.

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Fred Butler enters race for Issaquah mayor

January 22, 2013

Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Jan. 17.

Fred Butler

Fred Butler

The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.

Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and, late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.

“We are in the process of evolving from a small town to a small city, moving from suburban to urban,” he said in a Jan 17 interview. “Because I’ve been involved in a lot of the planning and the development of the urban villages and the Central Issaquah Plan, I believe I’m in a pretty good position to help implement the direction that we are going in.”

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City Council applicants offer varied skills

January 22, 2013

Members to appoint candidate Jan. 29

The applicants for a rare open seat on the City Council include long-established community leaders — and some candidates from the last time the council accepted applications to fill a vacancy.

The seven candidates offer assorted skills in community, government and military service in the process to succeed Mark Mullet on the council.

Initially, Ken Sessler, a retired Boeing engineer and a prolific letter writer to The Issaquah Press, applied for the vacancy, but withdrew not long after the city released the applicant list.

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Issaquah re-examines Klahanie annexation

January 22, 2013

Last annexation attempt failed in 2005

The question of how a large-scale annexation on the Sammamish Plateau could affect residents in Issaquah, Klahanie and other unincorporated King County neighborhoods is under the microscope again, almost a decade after a citizen panel tackled the issue.

Issaquah leaders commissioned a $100,000 study and created a citizen task force to examine the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area — 10,800 people in about 3,900 households in the namesake neighborhood and adjacent communities.

The potential annexation area under consideration is in unincorporated King County, and bordered by Issaquah to the south, Sammamish to the north and west, and more unincorporated areas to the east.

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Longtime city human services coordinator retires

January 22, 2013

Longtime city employee Steve Gierke retired last month after serving as human services coordinator and in numerous other roles at City Hall.

Gierke most recently oversaw a broad human services portfolio — the City Council funds dozens of organizations and programs each year — and served as the liaison between the city administration and the Human Services Commission.

In early 2010, council members considered eliminating the human services coordinator position, but retained the position after realizing the extent of Gierke’s contributions.

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