City council vacancy open till Thursday

City of Sequim Mayor Dennis Smith

City of Sequim Mayor Dennis Smith

Residents living in the City of Sequim have until Thursday morning, Jan. 4, to apply for the vacant city council seat.

City staff report three people have filed applications as of Tuesday but only one lives in city limits.

The position was formerly held by John Miller who died in late November. City councilors must fill the position within 90 days or Clallam County Commissioners will appoint someone, city staff said.

City councilors will tentatively interview candidates at their regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, in the Sequim Civic Center. The position’s term ends Dec. 31, 2019.

Applications are available at the Sequim Civic Center at 152 W. Cedar St.; from City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese at 360-681-3428; or through the city’s website at www.sequimwa.gov. They must be turned in no later than 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 4.

Applicants must be registered voters of the city, have a one-year continuous period of residence in the city and hold no other public office or employment under the city government. The salary for the position is $250 per month.

Council interest

Interest has varied in recent years for council seats.

In the most recent general election, four candidates ran unopposed including Mayor Dennis Smith.

He was similarly chosen in a selection process in Oct. 2012 among a handful of candidates like this for a vacant seat following the resignation of Bill Huizinga who moved out of city limits.

Smith a retired U.S. Air Force officer, later ran for the position in Nov. 2013 and was re-elected in November for a second term.

While considering the position, Smith said he and friends felt it’d be good to have “a more conservative attitude” on the city council and after he was chosen he met his fellow city councilors and was impressed with how everyone wanted to do the right thing for the city and its residents.

“Even now, every time we meet it’s a good cooperative group,” he said.

Smith said he didn’t have expectations when he first joined but has found himself fulfilled serving the city and meeting a multitude of residents.

As to what he’s most proud of since joining, Smith said he appreciates the productivity of the city council and communication between the city council and city staff.

“We went through the process to replace Steve Burkett (retired city manager) with Charlie Bush (current city manager) and that may be the best thing that has happened with the city at least in recent history,” he said.

Former mayor Laura Dubois, a retired budget analyst for a large electric utility, served on the city council from Jan. 2008-Dec. 2015 and said she learned a lot.

“I didn’t really have any experience in that line of work and in some ways it was a whole lot more than I thought,” she said.

“It was a great learning experience — learning all about what city government does for us. Most of it is invisible.”

Dubois said during her tenure, Sequim was continuing to transition from a small to town to a small city and there was a lot of change happening.

After the city council hired Burkett, Dubois said he inspired a lot of professionalism and employees were recognized for their accomplishments.

For those on the cusp of applying, Dubois said she found it to be a rewarding — meeting wonderful people and working with excellent staffers.

“Unless you’ve worked for city government, you learn a lot,” she said.

Smith said serving this interim term will give someone almost two years to decide if they like it or not and run for election.

He added the city offers several other ways to become involved too such as serving on the city’s planning commission or parks and recreation board.

For more information on this and other vacancies, call the city at 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

Former Sequim mayor Laura Dubois

Former Sequim mayor Laura Dubois

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