The Lakewood City Council unanimously selected Councilman Don Anderson as mayor Tuesday night.
The departure of Mayor Doug Richardson last week to the Pierce County Council left a vacancy in the largely ceremonial seat and council members had to name a successor. The mayor is not independently elected but selected from among the seven council members.
“It’s an honor and I look forward to the challenge,” Anderson said Wednesday.
Anderson is the fourth mayor in the city’s nearly 17-year history. In addition to Richardson, Bill Harrison and Claudia Thomas also served in the post.
Under Lakewood’s system of government, the council appoints a city manager to run the day-to-day operations of City Hall. The mayor serves as the ceremonial head of the city and presides at council meetings.
Anderson is beginning his sixth year on the council.
Mayor Anderson received an undergraduate and law degree from the University of Puget Sound. He served overseas as a Navy JAG officer from 1978 to 1981. He and his wife Nancy have four grown daughters.
The council also chose Councilman Jason Whalen as deputy mayor to serve in Anderson’s place when needed.
Whalen graduated from Gonzaga University in 1985. After service as an artillery officer in the Army, he returned to Spokane and graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1992. Whalen and his wife Gael have three daughters.
Anderson and Whalen are both attorneys and partners at the same law firm, Eisenhower Carlson PLLC in Tacoma.
Both votes were unanimous. There were no other nominations for the positions.
The council is in the process of filling Richardson’s vacant seat. Twelve people have applied and they will make four-minute presentations to the council on Jan. 28. The council is expected to make its appointment on Feb. 4.
Anderson will preside over the council as it seeks to hire a new city manager. City Manager Andrew Neiditz is leaving to head South Sound 911, the new countywide emergency dispatch agency.
The agency’s policy board approved Neiditz’s contract Wednesday. He’s expected to leave the city next month after giving 30 days of notice as required under his employment contract.
The mayor makes $900 a month, and the deputy mayor makes $800. Council members earn $700 a month.
Anderson and Whalen will serve in the posts until the end of the year.
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