Edmonds Council set to fill vacant seat Tuesday night

The Edmonds City Council is scheduled Tuesday night to select a replacement for the Position 7 seat left vacant with the retirement of Dave Orvis May 31. The council will choose from among 14 candidates who interviewed for the open seat last week (a total of 17 people submitted applications, but three withdrew before the interviews were conducted).

While rumors have been circulating that the seat has already been promised to one of the candidates, Councilmember Strom Peterson said that is not the case. Peterson said the questions he asked of applicant Richard Senderoff during the interview process last week — which focused on whether the public might be led to believe Senderoff would receive favorable treatment because he was campaign manager for Councilmember Diane Buckshnis — were specifically aimed at ensuring citizens that the council isn’t playing favorites during the selection process.

According to the Public Disclosure Commission, Senderoff contributed $702.50 to Buckshnis during her 2009 council race against Peterson. (Buckshnis lost the election to Peterson, but was appointed in January to fill the seat held by the late Councilmember Peggy Pritchard Olson.) Senderoff also donated $150 to incumbent Michael Plunkett’s campaign in 2007.

Other applicants for Position 7 who have made donations to sitting candidates during the most recent (2009 and 2007) races include Roger Hertrich, who gave $100 to Steve Bernheim in 2007 and $150 to Buckshnis in 2008, and Frank Yamamoto, who donated $200 to Peterson.

After the new councilmember is selected, the Council next will turn its attention to filling the position of mayor. The deadline for turning in applications to replace former Mayor Gary Haakenson, who resigned to become Snohomish County Deputy Executive, is 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The council is scheduled to make that appointment at its July 20 meeting.

  1. Does it concern anyone else that there will be 3 appointees, including the Mayor, running the City? Should appointees be empowered to appoint other appointees?

  2. During the election in which she was convincingly defeated, Ms. Buckshnis sent a letter to all the sitting council members that repeatedly described Richard Senderoff as her campaign manager. It wasn’t some off the cuff remark; she wrote it down more than once. Yet now they both deny it.

    Why is quite striking is that during the interview Mr. Seneroff could have simply said he indeed filled that position but could be independent. Yet he chose to deny, dance, bluff and bluster around the facts. Is that what we need in a new council member?

    The word has been Rich is a lock for this position since before applications were even available. I would say that is hard to believe; but remember, there was the same chatter about Ms. Buckshnis before she was appointed. She was put in place after one round of nominations, virtually no discussion and one round of voting.

    Despite earlier stating that he couldn’t support someone who lost in the last election, Mr. Bernhein this time choose to vote for her two months after she was routed in the polls. He followed that up with an quasi illegal quorum at a local pub where he told someone who objected “You haven’t seen anything yet.” He then continued to publicly berate the citizen who brought this to light.

    I guess we find out tonight if the majority of the council will chose to continue to rub our noses in their pedantic, haughty, and overweening arrogance.

  3. Why do these people choose to resign just after the election cycle?
    They should either finish out until the Nov. Election or pay to have a special election out of their own pockets.
    But it is total BS to allow the cronyism of the council to appoint members.
    We need new blood on the council not the rehashing of people that have either lost the previous election or have served & want back in.

    “Government of the people, by the people and for the people” – not – “Of the developers, by the real estate lobby and for their own personal gain”

  4. EU:

    Mr. Peterson’s appointment occurred after Ms. Dawson resigned at the end of 2008, which was not a local election year. The election was held the same year it would have been held had Dawson not resigned.

    Ms. Buckshnis’s appointment occurred after Ms. Olson died — I don’t think that was planned to occur after the election cycle. Once again this seat will be up for election the same year it always is.

    Ms. Petso’s recent appointment occurred after Mr. Orvis resigned due to some personal reasons(…) a good 6+ months after the last election. And, once again, his seat was due to be up the same year Ms. Petso will now run for election. So, none of the recent appointments required special elections.

    Additionally, given Ms. Buckshnis and Petso’s views on development, I think it is hard pressed to say they are in the pockets of developers. And, none of these appointees have or will be on council more than two years before they are put up for election. It’s how the process goes, sometimes things happen that are planned at the previous election.

  5. Stohn – that’s partially correct, but doesn’t address “EU’s” concern about people quitting mid term. Ms Dawson and Mr Orvis clearly could have resigned at a more election-friendly time. I believe that was the first point.

    Second point about the developers/real-estate lobby. I don’t get it. What, Lora Petso beholden to developers? I don’t think so.

    But here’s a metric for you, as I’m fond of metrics. The three most recent Council appointees are people who lost in the most recent election cycle. Not sour grapes on my part (disclosure: I applied for the most recent opening). I think what is at work here is not a real-estate lobby, or cronyism, but an assessment by sitting Council members that anyone who has the heart to go through an election cycle, even if they lost, has the dedication to serve on the Council.

    Hope they all prove this theory correct. Now, onward to the appointment of the Mayor!

  6. Funny how Steve Bernheim said when Strom Peterson applied for the vacant seat that he could not/would not vote for someone who lost an election for the council. He has done a 180 now twice in helping put Buckshnis & now Petso on the council.

    I guess the”you ain’t seen nothing yet” quote attributed to him after his participation in an illegal quorum (right after the Buckshnis coronation) is accurate!

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