During a Feb. 4 interview with the Edmonds City Council, Thomas Mesaros said that if the council chose to appointment him to Position 6 seat left vacant with the retirement of Frank Yamamoto, he would like his legacy to be bringing unity to the council governing process.
It appears that Mesaros will have his chance to do just that. After the council was deadlocked during two previous council meetings and 58 ballots, the long-time Edmonds resident received four of six council votes on the 59th ballot Tuesday night, making him the council’s newest member. After the vote, Mesaros — who just retired in January after serving as president and chief executive officer of the Alford Group — was sworn in by Mayor Dave Earling. His appointment will run through December 2015.
Mesaros was chosen from 14 candidates who applied for appointment to the position, and he was initially nominated at the start of Tuesday night’s voting — ballot 48 in the three-meeting process — by Councilmember Joan Bloom. In past meetings, Bloom had been part of a three-councilmember contingent who unwaveringly supported former Councilmember Steve Bernheim, so her move to a different candidate appeared to signal to those in the audience that an agreement might be reached. After some back-and-forth vote switching by several councilmembers, the matter was resolved on ballot 59, with Bloom, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Strom Peterson and Lora Petso voting for Mesaros.
While Mesaros has never been elected to public office, he noted on his council application that he has served on numerous boards of not-for-profit organizations, several community committees and many professional associations locally, nationally and internationally. He currently serves as a member of Citizens for Schools, which supports the passage of school levies and bonds for the Edmonds School District.
Among his credentials, Mesaros has more than 30 years of experience as a leader in not-for-profit management, including work as Vice President/Fund Development for the Sisters of Providence Health Systems and former Director of Financial Services for the Chief Seattle Council Boy Scouts of America.
He joined the Alford Group, which helps non-profit organizations in areas such as fundraising, governance and organizational strategy, in 1995 as vice president, became the group’s chief operating officer in 2001 and was named president and CEO in January 2003.
Another candidate for the city council appointment, Edmonds Public Schools and Alumni Foundation Executive Director Deb Anderson, said the council made a good choice. “Tom Mesaros will bring balance and reason to the Edmonds City Council, and will help to move our city forward effectively and prosperously,” said Anderson, who worked with Mesaros when he assisted the schools foundation with fundraising. “He really brought balance to our board at a time when we were undergoing significant transition,” she added.
Also during the meeting, the council:
– Confirmed the appointment of Shane Hope as the city’s new development services director. Hope is currently the Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Mountlake Terrace.
– Approved the hiring of the consultant Jim Reid of the Falconer Group to assist the council in improving relationships among the council, the mayor and city staff. The Falconer Group specializes in organizational development and conflict resolution. Reid will be present during the first day of the council’s annual retreat, set for this Friday and Saturday, March 14-15 in the City Hall Brackett Room, to start the process.