Five apply for Friday Harbor Town Council vacancy; appointment will be made Jan. 7

Editor's note: Mayor Carrie Lacher e-mailed the following clarification to this story. The referenced item, in the third paragraph, has been corrected: "I am delighted that we have 5 wonderfully talented people to choose from for the Town Council position. And thank you for posting this exciting news and information. However, please note that the executive session will be to discuss qualifications. The selection and the action on that selection both will take place in open session. Thanks, Carrie

Only one of three Town Council members elected in November had an opponent in the election.

But five Friday Harbor residents have filed for appointment to the Town Council position vacated by Carrie Lacher, who became mayor Jan. 1. The deadline for letters of interest was Dec. 30. (A sixth applicant was disqualified because he lives on Brown Island, which is outside the town limits.)

According to the the Town Council's agenda for its Jan. 7 noon and 5:30 p.m. meetings, the council is scheduled to interview the candidates on Jan. 7, 12:05 p.m. The council will later meet in executive session – which is closed to the public – to “evaluate the qualifications of candidates for appointment to Council Position No. 1.” The selection will be made and announced in open session. The new council member will be sworn in at 5:35 p.m.

The term expires Dec. 31, 2011. Candidates are:

Linda Browne, a real estate agent, served on the Friday Harbor Port Commission from February 1976 to December 1993.

Steve Hushebeck is a retired oil industry executive (marketing, operations and sales). He is a member of the town planning commission and a trustee for the Children’s Institute for Learning Differences on Mercer Island.

Bob Low is county fire marshal. He is a former town fire chief, served four years on the hospital district commission, and received 305 votes for mayor in the November election.

Terry Sanders has been a town firefighter since 1982 and is captain for Brandywine Charters.

Matt Shildneck is an electrician with Friday Harbor Electric and serves on the town Historic Preservation Review Board.

Town Council members receive $85 a meeting, with a maximum of four meetings per month. They help approve budgets, set policy, and determine town government's direction on public services and quality of life issues.

Because of a perennial dearth of candidates, those appointed to council positions often find they have jobs for a while.

Wally Gillette, who lost a Town Council race to Howard Rosenfeld by one vote in November 2001, was appointed four months later to a council position vacated by Vonda Sheiman, who resigned. Gillette ran unopposed for a full term in November 2003.

Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, appointed to the council in January 2007 to fill a vacancy caused by Rosenfeld's election to the County Council, ran unopposed in the next election to decide who would serve the rest of the term. But he resigned in June 2008 to take a job with the City of Renton.

Anna Maria de Freitas was appointed to succeed Balcomb-Bartok and was elected in November to a full term. She ran unopposed.

Ditto for Noel Monin, who was appointed in June to the council position vacated by Christopher Wolf, who resigned to teach in Qatar. Monin was unopposed in the November election to decide who would serve the rest of the term, which expires Dec. 31, 2011.

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