Council candidate seeks early appointment to fill vacant position
September 19, 2019
How will the vacancy on the Cathlamet Town Council be filled?
Council Member Sue Cameron resigned from the position in August, leaving one of the five seats vacant. When the council met Monday for its monthly meeting, Council Member Ryan Smith was excused for illness, leaving only three members present, Jean Burnham, Laurel Waller and David Olson.
When the public comment period arrived at the end of the meeting, Main Street resident Paige Lake asked how the position would be filled. She added that she had heard before the August meeting that Cameron would resign and she had prepared an application to be considered to fill the position. In May, she had filed for election to the post, and her name will appear on the November ballot.
The election will fill the position, said Mayor Dale Jacobson.
"My intention is to wait for the election process," he replied, adding that he felt the present council would be able to work peacefully together until the end of the year, when there will be wholesale change, for Burnham and Smith didn't file for re-election. They' be replaced by candidates who opposed the council's purchase of a parking lot on Butler Street. Lake and Robert Stowe, who both opposed the purchase, are running unopposed. Candidates for the remaining seat on the ballot are Janet Dodril and Bill Wainwright; Wainright was a vocal opponent of the purchase and is spokesperson for a group who filed recall charges against Jacobson, Cameron, Burnham and Smith.
Lake took the issue to the Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
Citing an article from MRSC, a private, non-profit organization serving local governments in Washington, Lake said council vacancies should be filled "within 90 days, and if not, the town council loses authority to do so, and the county legislative body, within 180 days of the vacancy's occurrence, makes the appointment." If the county commission doesn't make the appointment, responsibility passes to the governor.
"I ask you that if I win the election, and I'm unopposed at this point, I ask you to appoint me for the December meeting."
"We'll take this under advisement," said commission Chair Dan Cothren. "We'll wait and see what happens."