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Tacoma City Council vacancies: Eight finalists interviewed today

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Jan. 12, 2010 at 5:00 am |
January 11, 2010 5:28 pm

Tacoma City Council members are expected today to interview eight finalists vying for appointments to two vacant city council seats.

The interviews, which will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma Channel 12 (and www.tvtacoma.com), will be held during the noon study session in City Council chambers.

interview-questionEach interview is expected to take about 20 minutes,  city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said.  The interview format includes candidates being sequestered and called in before the council one-by-one, so that no finalist will see or hear their competitors’ interviews, McNair-Huff said.

Each candidate is expected to answer three form questions that will be asked of all finalists, followed by a more spontaneous question-and-answer session with council members. The form questions, provided to each finalist on Saturday, include:

What sets you apart as a candidate? What should be the city’s priorities? What is your view of the role of a city council member in the council-manager form of government?

Following an executive session last week, the city council approved eight finalists to be brought back for public interviews from an initial pool of 44 people who applied for the two open seats.  Some open-government lawyers have since questioned whether the council may have violated the state’s Open Meetings Act when winnowing down the field, as reported here and here. City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli contends the council did not overstep its authority.

The council expects to convene another executive session at 8 a.m. Thursday to discuss qualifications of the eight finalists, before conducting a public meeting — either Thursday or at the Jan. 19 council meeting — when the council will appoint the two new members.

The council vacancies — the at-large Position 7 and 8 seats — came open after former Councilwoman Julie Anderson won election to the Pierce County Auditor’s Office, and Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland won the mayor’s race.  Both have since vacated their respective council seats, each with about two years remaining.

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