Updated: Here’s the process for filling the vacant Edmonds City Council seat


Updated Saturday with more details from Edmonds City Council President Diane Buckshnis

The Edmonds City Council has announced the process for filling the vacant council position 6, starting with the Tuesday, Jan. 28 council meeting.

All 15 applicants will be interviewed by current councilmembers for 15 minutes each, with interviews beginning at 5:30 p.m., following some brief Council business  at 5 p.m. Those interviews are open to the public, and can be seen live online and on the Comcast 21/Frontier 39 cable channels. If you want to attend in person, the interviews will take place in the Council Chambers, 250 5th Ave. N.

According to Council President Diane Buckshnis, following the initial interviews each councilmember may select two applicants “that they feel they need more time to get to know,” as 15 minutes may not be sufficient for that process. The names of all candidates who will move on to a second interview will be announced Tuesday night, Buckshnis said.

Regardless of whether they are selected for a second interview, all candidates will still be in the running for post, she said, adding that “very viable candidates that are known in the community may not be selected for a second interview as most of us have seen their community service.” Applicants that were selected for a second interview will return for a 20-minute interview per person on Feb. 4.

On both evenings, potential candidates will not be able to sit in the Council Chambers during the interviews.

All applicants will be included in a special council meeting to vote on new appointment, which will be Tuesday, Feb. 11 before the regularly scheduled Council committee meetings.  “If a consensus is not reached in an hour, Roberts Rules allows us to hold an executive session to discuss our positions,” Buckshnis explained. Following the executive session, the council will return to public session to continue voting. “If after the executive session another rounds of votes provides no appointee, the selection process will go the Snohomish County Council,” she added.

According to City of Edmonds code, Mayor Dave Earling will not be part of the voting process “and he has acknowledged that in an email to council,” Buckshnis said. You can see all 15 of the applications at this link.


  1. Great question John – I can’t find an answer in the City’s Code or related State laws. I know that when Council Member Strom Peterson was appointed it was because he received 4 of 6 votes on the 37th ballot.

    Following is the related City Code section:

    1.02.035 Filling vacant council positions.
    A. In the event a vacancy or vacancies shall occur on the city council, such position(s) shall be filled until a successor to such position(s) can be elected for the remainder of the unexpired term(s) at the next municipal election. Such election process shall comply with the requirements of RCW 35A.12.050 and Chapter 42.12 RCW. In addition the city council shall establish a process commensurate with the time available which includes, at a minimum, public notification by posting and publication in the city’s legal newspaper, the establishment of an application process with a clearly stated deadline for the submission of letters of interest, the development of questionnaires to assist the city council in its process, a public interview process conducted by the city council and nominations and selection by the city council during an open public meeting. All portions of this process shall be open to the public unless the city council in its discretion elects to discuss the qualifications of a candidate for public office in executive session as provided for by RCW 42.30.110(h).

    B. In the event that a council member shall resign or otherwise become ineligible to hold office after the date when the council position has been filled by election but prior to the date on which the newly elected council member is eligible to take office, the city council may in its sole discretion elect to dispense with the procedures established in subsection A of this section and appoint the newly elected successor to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. [Ord. 3382 § 1, 2001; Ord. 3005 § 1, 1995; Ord. 1841 § 2, 1976].


  2. John – must be majority as the last 4 have all been 4-2:

    A. From January 20, 2009:
    The results were: four votes for Strom Peterson (Councilmembers Olson, Plunkett and Wambolt and Council President Wilson) and two votes for Richard Senderoff (Councilmembers Orvis and Bernheim).
    Administration of Oath of Office
    Mayor Haakenson swore in Mr. Peterson and Councilmember Peterson took his seat on the dais.

    B. From January 19, 2010:
    The results were: four votes for Diane Buckshnis (Councilmembers Orvis, Fraley-Monillas and Plunkett and Council President Bernheim), and two votes for Ron Wambolt (Councilmembers Peterson and Wilson).
    Mayor Haakenson administered the oath of office to Ms. Buckshnis and Councilmember Buckshnis took her seat on the dais.

    C. From July 6, 2010:
    The results were: two votes for Paul Anderson (Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas and Peterson), and four votes for Lora Petso (Mayor Pro Tem Bernheim and Councilmembers Wilson, Plunkett and Buckshnis).
    Administration of Oath of Office
    City Clerk Sandy Chase swore in Ms. Petso and Councilmember Petso took her seat at the dais.

    D. From June 5, 2012:
    The results were: four votes for Kristiana Johnson (Councilmembers Fraley-Monillas, Buckshnis, Bloom and Petso), and two votes for Dick Van Hollebeke (Council President Peterson and Councilmember Yamamoto).
    Mayor Earling administered the oath of office to Ms. Johnson and Councilmember Johnson took her seat at the dais.

    I don’t know if there is a Code or procedure that states majority as opposed to consensus.

    It is interesting that 3 current Council Members will have a chance to nominate and vote for applicants who voted for them in the past.

    Following is the most complete discussion of procedures I could find – from the January 19, 2010 City Council meeting Minutes:

    City Clerk Sandy Chase read the rules for the nomination/election process that were used last year:


    Each Councilmember may nominate one candidate from the list of applicants by placing an “X” beside the name of the applicant of his or her choice on the form supplied for that purpose by the City Clerk, and by signing the nomination form. The City Clerk will announce and maintain a permanent record of the nominations and of the Councilmember nominating each candidate.

    The Election

    Each Councilmember may vote for one candidate by placing an “X” beside the name of the candidate of his or her choice on the ballot supplied for that purpose by the City Clerk, and by signing the ballot. The City Clerk will announce and maintain a permanent record of each ballot and who voted for each candidate.

    A Deadlock

    A deadlock occurs after each Councilmember votes the same way on three consecutive ballots. In the event the City Council should deadlock, then previous nominations are declared null and void and the Council may begin a new round of nominations.




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