After six rounds of nominations and 41 ballots that spanned two meetings — and mostly focused on two candidates — the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night voted to appoint former City Councilmember Dave Teitzel from among 17 applicants to fill its Position 1 vacancy.
A retired QWest executive, the 70-year-old Teitzel — who was elected to the council in November 2015 and retired after one term — has lived in Edmonds for 35 years. He will take seat vacated with the unexpected death of Councilmember Kristiana Johnson July 18. If Teitzel wants to retain the position, he will have to run for election in November 2023.
The voting started with a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. but after no consensus on an applicant was reached, that meeting was adjourned just before 7 p.m. — the start of the council’s regular business meeting. After taking care of several other agenda items during that meeting, councilmembers returned to the applicant voting at 8:30 p.m.
For much of the evening, the six councilmembers’ votes were split between Teitzel and Maria Montalvo, a 21-year Edmonds resident and longtime community volunteer who serves as executive director of a foundation specializing in scholarships for military children and spouses.
Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis, Vivian Olson and Neil Tibbott consistently voted to support Teitzel, while Councilmembers Will Chen, Laura Johnson and Susan Paine mostly cast their ballots for Montalvo.
All three of the councilmembers who initially supported Montalvo noted the number of emails they had received in support of her appointment, pointing to her extensive range of community activities as well her ability, Councilmember Laura Johnson said, “to navigate hard conversations” and to “prioritize the underrepresented population of Edmonds,” among many other strengths. Montalvo co-chaired the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Committee, has chaired the boards of the Edmonds College Foundation and the Hazel Miller Foundation, and served on the Edmonds Public Facilities District board, the Edmonds Diversity Commission and the Snohomish County Foundation for Public Health.
Paine said Montalvo “would be a terrific addition. She knows how to make things happen and happen swiftly.” Chen added that he believed Montalvo would be someone who could bring the community together.
Speaking in support of Teitzel, Buckshnis said that he would be able to fill the late Councilmember Johnson’s shoes, calling him “an independent thinker” like Johnson was. “He’s very conservative about keeping the downtown, downtown and I believe that he has a proven track record,” Buckshnis said
Teizel said his friendship with Johnson inspired him to seek the council appointment, and he hoped to honor her legacy. During his interview with councilmembers Aug. 27, he also said his recent council experience — and the fact that he served on the body’s finance committee — will allow him. to “step in very quickly and seamlessly” during the upcoming 2023 city budget season.
The councilmembers casting their ballots Tuesday did occasionally nominate and vote for other applicants, including Highway 99 neighborhood resident and frequent council commenter Natalie Seitz, business attorney Jenna Nand, retired dentist Michelle Dotsch, Salish Sea Brewing co-owner Erika Barnett and Edmonds Planning Board member Roger Pence. But none of those candidates got the four council votes required in any one round to give them the appointment.
The voting returned to a 3-3 split for Teitzel and Montalvo until Chen — on the 41st ballot — broke the tie by switching his support to Teitzel.
After his selection, Teitzel was immediately sworn in by Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson and took his place on the dais with the other councilmembers.
Teitzel said he appreciated and respected each of the other 16 applicants. “The city’s very fortunate,” he said. “We have very qualified and very well-engaged citizens who want to serve.” He encouraged all of them to run for the council seats that will be open in 2023.
Chen noted that choosing the applicant to fill the vacant seat was a difficult decision and added that he respected all 17 of the applicants “tremendously. You have the community at heart,” he said.
In other business Tuesday night, the council:
– approved by a 5-1 vote Mayor Mike Nelson’s nomination of Oscar Antillon to become the city’s next public works director. Antillon is the current public works director for the Town of Los Altos Hills, California. Councilmember Neil Tibbott, who questioned Antillon’s short tenure in previous jobs, voted no.
– unanimously approved a request by Parks Director Angie Feser to use up to $450,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to cover required stormwater mitigation for the new Civic Park site, now under construction. Treating all the stormwater at the park itself isn’t possible due to the high water table, so the city is instead treating it upstream in the Shell Creek watershed, in a right-of-way area on 96th Avenue West adjacent to Yost Park. To meet state requirements for treatment, stormwater will be collected into big vaults and infiltrated into the soil onsite. Read more about the project here.
– Passed a resolution honoring the late Kristiana Johnson.
– Heard proclamations related to National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Hispanic Heritage Month.
– Received a suicide prevention report from the Snohomish Health District.
Two agenda items — updating the city code governing the city attorney and consideration of permanent design standards for multifamily buildings in the BD2 zone — were not considered Tuesday night due to time constraints.
— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel