Second set of applicant interviews Thursday for Edmonds City Council Position 2 seat

The second group of six candidates vying for appointment to the vacant Position 2 Edmonds City Council seat will have their interviews during a special Edmonds City Council meeting set for Thursday, Jan. 23.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m with a brief business agenda, followed by these interviews:

6:30 p.m. – Matt Cheung

7 p.m. – Will Chen

7:30 p.m. – Deborah Binder

8 p.m. – Luke Distelhorst

8:30 p.m. – Doug Petersen

9 p.m. – Nathan Monroe

Each interview will be 25 minutes, which includes a two-and-a-half-minute opening/closing by the candidate. Each councilmember will have three minutes to ask their questions. There will be a five-minute break between each interview.

In fairness to all applicants, the candidates will be asked to wait in the lobby until they are called. Interviews will be video recorded for the public but won’t be live-streamed, and the broadcast will be available online after noon on Friday, Jan. 24.

You can read our summary of Tuesday’s council meeting with the first set of applicant here.

The council agenda for the Jan. 23 meeting is here.

  1. The good news is 12 people have come forward to help serve Edmonds. On paper they each have skills that will help. The first 6 interviews show each are talented people. I will bet the other six will also show useful skills. The council has not created a list of skills they want or need but the skills needed to be on council are many and varied.

    When one builds a house you need a number of folks with different skills: the cement folks to do the foundation, the framers to put up the walls, and the plumbers, electricians, wall borders, roofers, and finally the decorators and landscape people.

    Council will do a better job with a broad range of skills among it members. Council President has made committee assignments for 2020 and the new member has been slated for some very important committees: Finance, Affordable Housing Alliance and will be the alternate to the Housing Commission. They will also serve on Snohomish County Tomorrow.

    Edmonds has enjoyed a strong revenues since 2008 but that is not likely to last. The finance committee in my opinion will do the most important work of all this year. There is a scheduled tax increase to manage, reserves are going down, and with softening revenues we may face the need to eliminate services we all enjoy or raise taxes even more than planned. We are already not caring for our buildings and our streets and those cost are simply on the back burner.
    The point of all this is given how the Committees have been assigned for 2020 the new council member will not only be drinking from a fire hose to get up to speed, they will be sharing the most important committee in the city.

    So council should sort out the skill of the new person and assess their ability to do hands on work with finances, and the management of projects. Those skills will be very important.

    Can’t built a house with a bunch of plumbers, various skills are needed. Same with council. We need to add the skill sets needed to get the job done. Council needs to match the skills the applicants have against the needs of the city. I hope they pick someone with strong financial and project management skills, they will need it.

  2. Darrol Haug and copy Council Members,

    Your example of reviewing Council skills and gaps makes sense.

    Thank you for listing the committees to be filled by position two (2). Having witnessed bidding processes, please excuse my cynicism in knowing a project may be customized before the bid goes out. Once open, many bids are easily and quickly weeded based on the criteria of the specs.

    Mayor Nelson made committee appointments before Tuesday, when the candidate would be selected. This preemptive move of defined committee slots may greatly narrow Council members‘ choices. A predetermined candidate (possibly candidates, if I am being less cynical) rises to the top.

    It appears, from the Mayor’s Committee choices for position two (2), he already went through the first stage you recommended. He has reduced the power of the Council.

    I do not necessarily object to the person or persons the Mayor may have aligned for the position. However, the timing and process used, I hope this is not a precedent of how the Mayor will be using his continued power. It is less than a good faith way to begin with his council and to gain trustworthiness from the Edmonds Citizens.

    If ANY Council Members are uncomfortable with fitting to the committee approach rather than the bigger picture of the Council, be bold and focus on that. If the committees match the overall council needs, then so be it. However, I encourage Council Members to be bold and speak up if this way of proceeding for future Council decisions is improper. If it is, stop it, or at least speak on record, before it becomes precedent.

    1. Lori R. Thanks for spelling my name correctly. Thanks for including me on the same line with City Council. And thanks for separating me from Council by at least 2 words. I would have used 3, “Where’s the Money?”.

      Looking at the council packet page 164, is the list of council assignments to the various committees for 2020. Mayor Nelson appointed 2 members to the Disability Board and a member to his Climate Committee. The rest of the appointments we made by council president. Mayor Nelson did play a role in the election of council president but only was responsible for the two committees mentioned. While he may have known or even discussed the assignments, the power is held by council president.

      Edmonds had one of the most unique circumstances in setting up how we will be governed in 2020. Three new council members were elected, and we elected a new Mayor. Council will select a new member and they Mayor has said he will not participate this time as a tie breaking vote.

      The public may have been better served with these unique circumstances if they would have waited for both the committee assignments and the election of a president. The are on a fast track for the appointment but we have not seen anything that would prevent the 59 tied votes. They could have created a top three voting process, or some other process based on the skills and experiences the 12 applicants bring to the table.

      Council is planning a retreat on Feb 7 and unlike the last retreat, hopefully all 7 will be attending. That would have been an ideal time to select a president and to discuss publicly how each council member would like to use their skills and experience on committees. As it stands right now TBD will serve on Finance, Affordable Housing, Housing Commission alternate, and Snohomish County Tomorrow.

      So, “Where’s the Money” going to come from to feed our appetite for the new stuff? Council member Olson, is appointed to Finance and the public will be very impressed with her skills and experience in this area. Let’s hope in appointing TBD council assesses their skills and experience in the world of finance.

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