The Tacoma City Council has decided to allow the incoming council to make the appointments to fill two vacancies on the panel early next year.
During a discussion among city council members on Tuesday, Mayor-elect Marilyn Strickland detailed a compromise that would allow sitting council members to start the appointment process, but will hand-off the final selection of candidates to the 2010 council.
Already, the sitting council had set an application deadline for 5 p.m. this Friday for candidates interested in filling either vacant seat, both of which have about two years of unexpired terms remaining. The vacancies were created because former Councilwoman Julie Anderson won election to the Pierce County Auditor’s job, and Strickland won election to the mayor’s office. Anderson already has vacated her council seat; Strickland will vacate her’s in January.
Under the appointment process, the sitting council will allow all applicants to give a three-minute public presentation to council at its noon study session on Dec. 15. Those candidates who can’t make that mid-day session may be allowed to give a presentation after the council’s regular meeting that evening.
The 2009 council will then pass the matter over to the 2010 council, which once it convenes next year, will winnow the field of candidates down and bring back members for public interviews, Strickland said.
Under the plan, next year’s council, which already has three new members, likely will make both appointments sometime in January, city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said.
Councilman-elect Marty Campbell said he feels the tentative plan is a good one, because it allows both councils to participate but leaves the decisions to the council that actually will work with the appointed members.
“I’d rather be in on a process of choosing who I am working with,” Campbell said. “Overall, as long as this is an open process, I think good people will be selected. Tacoma is abundant with talent.”
As of yesterday, the city has received applications for the appointments from at least 12 candidates. They include Bil Moss, Don Fisher, Jr., Harold McMillian, Mark McIntire, RR Anderson, Heber (Chip) Van Gilder, Darion Reese, C. Craig Carter, Robert Bearden, Edwina Magrum, David Boe and Mary Alice Yakmoto.
Several other people – Rick Talbert, Jim Merritt, John Hathaway, Chris Thompson and Julio Quan, among them — also have expressed interest in applying.