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Four fine prospects for FWay mayor; we pick two

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on July 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm with No Comments »
July 22, 2010 5:17 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

History is being made in Federal Way this year as the city shifts from the council-manager to the mayor-council form of government.

Our initial concerns about politics-driven management under an elected executive have been eased by the sheer quality of the candidates running for the new “strong mayor” position: Mike Park, Skip Priest, Linda Kochmar and Jim Ferrell.

The city would fare well with any of these four, which has made this endorsement decision unusually difficult. We’ve settled on Priest and Kochmar, but Park and Ferrell have different and impressive qualifications that may carry more weight with some voters.

Like the other three, Park has an extensive record of public service. He was appointed to the Federal Way City Council in 1995 and has won election four times since. He has twice served as council-appointed mayor.

A small business owner, he chairs the city’s finance committee and has brought strong fiscal expertise to city government. His civic leadership includes service on Highline Community College Foundation’s Board of directors.

Ferrell is a dynamo who also serves on the City Council; he’s been a driving force behind several city crusades, including the campaign to create the very office he’s now running for. His civic service includes leadership in the South King County Multi-Service Center and YMCA.

Ferrell is a King County senior deputy prosecutor, in which capacity he manages the domestic violence court.

Kochmar has a history of community volunteerism that stretches back decades. She was part of the citizens group that successfully achieved cityhood for Federal Way in 1990. Elected to the City Council in 1997, she currently serves as its “weak mayor,” and she’s worked extensively with neighboring governments on common issues – invaluable experience for a strong mayor.

Kochmar’s civic service, which includes board leadership with the King County Aquatics Center, is exceptionally broad. She works as a risk manager and administrator for the Lakehaven Utility District.

Priest is an exemplar of public service, and his résumé runs deep. Currently a state lawmaker, he’s been an effective leader in the Legislature despite his minority Republican status – evidence of his ability to work with just about anyone. Before going to Olympia, he served on the City Council and did a stint as mayor.

Priest’s credentials don’t quit. He has extensive business management experience, owns and runs a land management and investment company, and has provided leadership in many civic organizations. He has a law degree from George Washington University.

The caliber of these four exceptional candidates bodes well for the launch of Federal Way’s new mayor-council system.

Read earlier endorsements at www.thenewstribune.com/endorsements.

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