The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Burnham appointed to council for 2nd time

Council splits 2-2 on candidates, so Mayor Jacobso breaks tie


January 18, 2018

Rick Nelson

Members of the Cathlamet Town Council are, l-r, Mayor Dale Jacobson, Ryan Smith, Sue Cameron, Jean Burnham, Tanya Waller and Laurel Waller.

Mayor Dale Jacobson cast the tiebreaking vote Tuesday to select Jean Burnham to fill a vacant seat on the Cathlamet Town Council.

Long-time Council Member Richard Swart resigned at the end of December, and the council had three applicants to fill the vacancy--Burnham, Paige Lake and Robert Stowe.

The candidates answered questions from each council member, and then the council, Jacobson and town attorney Heidi Heywood retreated to a 20-minute executive session to evaluate the candidates.

When they returned Laurel Waller nominated Stowe, and Tanya Waller seconded. Then Sue Cameron nominated Burnham, and Ryan Smith seconded the nomination.

"We have a tie, so it's my responsibility," Jacobson announced. "I've worked with Jean before, and I'd like to see her on the council."

With that, Heywood administered the oath of office, and Burnham took a seat on the council.

"We were very lucky to have the candidate we had," Cameron commented. "I ask those not selected to please consider the planning commission."

Burnham had been appointed to the council last year to fill another vacancy; she was a write-in candidate for the position but lost the election to Laurel Waller.

Each of the four council members asked one question of the candidates:

Ryan Smith: If you're not selected, would you apply for a place on the planning commission?

--Burnham: Possibly.

--Lake: No.

--Stowe: I don't know.

Sue Cameron: What prompted you to apply for the council position?

--Burnham: My curiosity about how sausage gets made. I'm interested in the town and wanted to have more information than I can get in The Eagle.

--Lake: I have four years of experience working with the downtown core. I've been the downtown association treasurer. Main Street is really the heart of the city, and I'd like to see Main Street be productive.

--Stowe: My wife and I chose this city in which to retire. It was small, clean and prosperous. I want to help guide in keeping it that way, and I'd like to be more active in local affairs.

Tanya Waller: What do you hope to accomplish?

--Burnham: I'd like to see a better relationship with Wahkiakum County and Port District 1, a symbiotic relationship and not adversarial so we could add ratepayers and fill empty buildings. In the long term, I'd like to see us be more of a tourist destination. Cathlamet is ideally situated for that.

--Lake: We're still recovering from the Great Recession. I'd like to help create some momentum.

--Stowe: I look forward to continuing on a strong fiscal basis. Through proper planning, we can move forward. I'm a member of Tsuga Gallery, and I want to bring people into our town so they can see how unique and special we are.

Laurel Waller: What do you think the job of a council member is?

--Burnham: I think the council's job is to affirm and re-inforce what direction the mayor decides to go in.

--Lake" I think this council sets policy; it is the legislative branch.

--Stowe: The council is the legislative body, and the mayor is responsible for carrying out the policies. The council should talk to the people, work with people, and make things as smooth as possible.

In other business, the council voted a resolution to join a proposed new regional economic development district, and Clerk/Treasurer Kerrie McNally announced the council would have a special meeting January 29 to hear a summary of a sewer rate study.


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