Sequim city councilor Dennis Smith, seen here in 2019 at a groundbreaking for the West Fir Street Rehabilitation Project, announced his resignation due to personal reasons from the council on Jan. 8. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash

Sequim city councilor Dennis Smith, seen here in 2019 at a groundbreaking for the West Fir Street Rehabilitation Project, announced his resignation due to personal reasons from the council on Jan. 8. Sequim Gazette file photo by Matthew Nash

Former Sequim mayor Smith resigns for personal reasons

Pursuing another term “sounded like more than I could commit to”

Former Sequim mayor Dennis Smith, a retired U.S. Air Force communications officer, announced his resignation from the Sequim City Council last week after more than eight years on the council.

In a Jan. 8 email to Sequim City Manager Charlie Bush and Sequim mayor William Armacost, Smith wrote, “After many hours of discussion with my family; my friends and my doctor; I have determined that it would be best to discontinue my involvement with the City Council at this time.”

Smith continued that “it has been an honor to serve as a representative of this community.”

He said his resignation of council seat No. 4 was effective immediately.

In a phone interview on Monday, Smith, 74, said his decision was a combination of things, including family and personal health.

He said that he evaluated a number of factors — including his age and the reality of to commit in May to running for a third term in the November election — and found he felt serving through 2025 “sounded like more than I could commit to.”

Smith added that a culmination of events in the past three months led to his decision.

He is one of five city councilors who started their terms as appointees. Now, his position will be appointed by city councilors in the coming month(s).

City councilors have a deadline to appoint someone by April 8 or Clallam County commissioners will appoint someone.

City councilors selected Smith as deputy mayor in 2014 and 2015 and mayor from 2016-2019. He was appointed in Oct. 2012 to replace Bill Huizinga, who moved out of city limits.

Smith nominated himself to continue as mayor, but councilors instead voted for Armacost.

Reaction

“I am extremely grateful for (Smith’s) years of service to the City of Sequim and I want to personally thank Dennis for encouraging me to run for the City Council,” Armacost wrote in a release.

“In my wildest dreams I had never considered serving on the Council and Dennis’s mentorship was extremely valuable in me being on-boarded to the Council and was an added value to my role as Mayor.

“I’d like to wish Dennis an abundance of peace and good health.”

Bush said he “greatly enjoyed” working with Smith particularly while he was Mayor.

“His long-term service to the Council and the community was commendable,” he said.

More on Smith

Smith moved to Sequim in 2008 after a career in the Air Force. He served for 33 years in communications for the Air Force/National Guard traveling the world and retired as lieutenant colonel as the communication electronics manager for the Western Air Defense Sector at the McChord Air Force Base.

He was elected twice to city council by Sequim voters; running unopposed in 2017 with his term expiring Dec. 31, 2021.

Among many city decisions he’s been a part of, hiring Bush is something Smith said he’d “hang his hat on.”

“He’s a very valuable man and has provided city with an outstanding staff; I can’t say it enough,” Smith said of Bush.

Of the several projects completed during his tenure, Smith said the completion of the West Fir Street Rehabilitation project, the pickleball courts in Carrie Blake Community Park and the renovation of the Guy Cole Event Center as some of his personal highlights.

Another was the renewal of the Transportation Benefit District for 10 years that dedicates funds for road improvements such as chip sealing.

He also noted highlights that included the city’s completion its Comprehensive Plan update, finalizing agreements with Clallam County and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for sewer project extensions, and establishing a Rainy Day Fund — one that is now helping small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Dec. 2014, Smith was charged with a DUI arrest after a fender bender in Sequim where his blood-alcohol test came to 0.26. No injuries were reported. He received deferred prosecution as he voluntarily attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, received outpatient treatment for two years and installed an ignition interlock in his vehicle.

Smith apologized then and said Monday that it led to personal changes for him.

“I’m drug- and alcohol-free for over seven years now and plan to stay that way,” he said. “(Drinking) was a problem, and the city and community was very forgiving.”

He also served as mayor when community discussions and concern began to grow about the proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic. Smith said it’s been controversial, and caused some headache but he felt the city strived to make sure everyone’s opinions were heard. He feels it’s gotten people to be involved and “that’s very much a plus.”

Smith served multiple committees and organizations as a councilor, including the Peninsula Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Shiso Sister City Association, City of Sequim Finance Committee, Clallam Transit, Sequim Planning Commission and the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Smith said he stays in touch with his chamber contacts, that he plans to stay in Sequim and added he feels there’s no end to things he can volunteer to do to stay involved.

For more information on the Sequim City Council, call 360-683-4139 or visit https://www.sequimwa.gov/67/City-Council.

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