Parks and trails supporter wins vacant seat on city council

Dennis Smith elected mayor, Ted Miller picked for deputy mayor

The City of Sequim ushered in the new year with some changes in leadership.

On Jan. 4, two newly elected city councilors — Pamela Leonard-Ray and John Miller — were sworn into office, Dennis Smith was elected unanimously as mayor and four candidates vied for the vacant seat left by Ken Hays.

City councilors interviewed the candidates on Monday night and appointed Bob Lake, a financial planner and former risk management consultant, to fill the seventh seat on the council.

Lake won the position over Brandon Janisse, a retail manager and former city council candidate; Roger Wiseman, an insurance manager; and Wendall Lorenzen, a Sequim High School senior.

Prior to Sequim, Lake lived in Christchurch, New Zealand, from 2009-2014 and formed a company to help businesses leverage technology for operations management, which evolved into helping locals with earthquake recovery more directly. He also worked as a loss control manager and cost control specialist for insurance companies through his career.

His term runs through Dec. 31, 2017, following Hays’ resignation in December, who was reelected in November but resigned citing work and family obligations.

Lake said in the interview he doesn’t have an interest in politics but serving on the city council seemed “like a logical extension” after volunteering for the Peninsula Trails Coalition, Red Cross and city’s Parks and Recreation Board.

The idea came to him to run after receiving an e-mail alert, he said.

Some of the issues Sequim faces, Lake said, are emergency preparedness and how the city balances development and resources from the city’s tax base while serving the Greater-Sequim area.

On future development, he said he’d want the city to continue to grow in a comfortable way and that integration into the county (Urban Growth Area) will be increasingly more important.

Lake was chosen 4-2 with Dennis Smith, Ted Miller, Pratt and Genaveve Starr voting for him over Janisse. Ted Miller also nominated Wiseman.

Wiseman said he feels city councilors chose a good councilman but he’s unsure if he’ll run for city council in the future. He might consider an opening in the planning commission though, he said.

Janisse, who sought a council seat for the second time in November, said he’s not overly thrilled someone can walk onto the council and not campaign. He said not being selected was disheartening but he’ll consider his political options later.

Susan Lorenzen, Wendall’s mother and a former city councilor, lost her election bid against new council member John Miller in November but opted not to try for the vacant seat. She said Wendall considered running before but he missed the August 2015 primary registration date to turn 18 by 13 days. However, when this opportunity came up he wanted to run and she didn’t want to interfere with that, she said.

Council members offered Wendall Lorenzen a new position as the student representative to the council, which he accepted.

New mayor

Following Lake’s selection, city councilors unanimously voted Deputy Mayor Dennis Smith as the city’s new mayor. Smith was appointed to the city council on Oct. 8, 2012, elected to office the following year and as deputy mayor in 2014.

Former Mayor Candace Pratt said she opted not to run again for mayor and she nominated Smith.

Smith said he’s really looking forward to being mayor.

“In the last 1-1½ years, I’ve learned a lot from Candace,” he said. “She had a lot of challenges she had to deal with like the construction of the Civic Center.”

On upcoming issues, Smith said they all take money and the council will be challenged to prioritize.

“Thankfully, we have a great staff who haven’t steered us wrong yet.”

Ted Miller was voted in 6-1 with John Miller opposed as deputy mayor. Miller was elected to city council in 2009 and served as deputy mayor from 2012-2013.

Lake, Ted Miller, Smith and Starr’s terms end in December 2017 while Leonard-Ray, John Miller and Pratt’s terms run through December 2019.