Wilcox promises a common sense approach to Edmonds City Council

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Bob Wilcox speaks to supporters.
Karsten Wilson enjoys a cupcake at the campaign event.

In his campaign kickoff speech for Edmonds City Council Wednesday night, retired Edmonds business owner Bob Wilcox pledged to focus on a “common sense approach” to growth and creation of a healthy business climate.

“We live in a very special place and we have had the benefit of a lot of superior services and benefits,” said Wilcox, a lifelong Edmonds resident who is running for Position 4 against incumbent Diane Buckshnis and technology engineer Tad Helke. “For us to receive those… it takes revenue,  and revenue comes from a healthy tax base. And that tax base starts with a healthy business environment.”

Wilcox, who served as president and partner of Wilcox Construction for 25 years before his retirement last year, said it’s important “to encourage businesses to succeed. The city needs to be partners in that success and do everything they can to make local merchants, landowners, landlords want to locate in the city of Edmonds. ”

He told supporters gathered at the Wilcox Construction office that opponents will claim “that I’m for tall buildings, but that’s not true. I’m for the buildings that agree with our code requirements.”

“What I am for is a common-sense approach to growth that utilizes the best practices of planning and architecture,” Wilcox said. “Businesses that are growing, are paying taxes, and are hiring people to pay taxes. That the keeps the police and fire coverage at an optimum, it keeps the roads paved parks open and keeps those planter and baskets full of flowers that we all love down here.”

He took a few swipes at the city council,  noting “there’s a lot of micromanagement going on. Leadership does not require micromanagement. It stifles creativity and removes motivation,” he said. But in the end, he returned to his common sense theme, adding “If I’m elected, that’s what you’ll get.”

12 COMMENTS

  1. I’m don’t know anything about the laws that deal with conflicts of interest, so I was hoping somebody could enlighten me. If Mr. Wilcox is elected and a vote comes before the council involving a business development project where his family’s company could bid on that project, is he required to recuse himself from that vote? Has he said anything about how he would handle a conflict of interest?

    There have been quite a few potential large scale development projects talked about recently, so this kind of conflict is virtually certain to come up in the 4 years of a term on City Council.

  2. Joe:

    Mr. Wilcox sold the business about one year ago, so I don’t know if there’s any family ownership remaining. Even if some family ownership remains, I believe a decision to recuse would have to be on a case-by-case basis.

    It is totally up to council members to decide if they are going to recuse themselves; it is not mandatory. In certain situations if they decide not to recuse themselves and a lawsuit results against the city, the chance of the city loosing in the litigation is possibly increased.

  3. Thanks, Ron! That was very informative and helpful.

    The Wilcox Construction Company website says:

    Wilcox Construction is a second generation family owned and operated company.

    If this is inaccurate, I hope Mr. Wilcox will clarify. If it is accurate, the potential for conflict of interest exists.

  4. Mr. Morgan,

    As of April 1st 2010 my ownership position in Wilcox Construction ended. Although my former partner and I, who retired 5 years before I did, still own the property and rent the space to the new owners neither of us has any ownership in Wilcox Construction. Thanks for the comment, it is a legitimate question.

  5. Thank you for taking the time to personally answer my question. Getting on a forum where pretty much anybody can say pretty much anything takes courage and I appreciate that.

    One more question on this matter. Does anyone in your family retain a financial interest in the company? If not, I find the family owned and operated statement on the website puzzling.

    Sorry if I seem to be belaboring this – I think it’s important to erase any lingering doubts.

  6. Joe,
    One of the present owners is a second generation owner but not a Wilcox family member. I’m sure Bob can tell you that. The Wilcox family is a long time pillar in the Edmonds Community. Bob will well serve the citizens of Edmonds while serving on the council.

  7. Mr. Morgan,

    Mr. Anderson is correct. When my partner of twenty years retired, his son, Matt Lessard, bought his shares. When I retired, Matt and two key employees bought my shares. So yes, although it is not owned by a Wilcox any longer it is still owned by a member of a family that had an interest for a generation.

  8. It all makes sense now. Thanks for clearing it up!

    I have more questions, but I’m going to wait on those to give others a chance to be heard.

  9. I don’t think the council picks contractors city jobs are done on bids with the low bidder getting the job so even if Mr Wilcox. still owned his company Im not certain it would make any differance , Most of his jobs were with non goverment people correct me if Im wrong thanks

  10. I wasn’t concerned about government projects. I was concerned about private development where zoning or code changes might be desired. For example, the development in harbor square would require raising building heights in that area. The council would have to approve that. That particular project would appear to be similar to other projects done by Wilcox Construction Company.

    But I am satisfied by Mr. Wilcox’s answers, so none of this matters to me.

  11. Hey Mike, I was just out in my garage and found a bunch of extra periods I have no use for. Please feel free to take as many as you like and use them in your next message. I can probably find more if you run out. I stuck them all at the end of this message.

    …………………………………………

  12. Joe,

    You raise an valid question about conflicting interests. In the case of Mr. Wilcox still owning the property and building where Wilcox Construction exists and pays rent under new ownership, I am not entirely confident that a conflict wouldn’t surface.

    A property owner, renting a structure to a developer, could have an interest in making sure rent continues to be paid. No doubt it is a little grey, but better to move the issue to a clearly black and white position before a team of lawyers takes up the matter at hundreds of dollars an hour at city expense.

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