EVERETT — City Councilman Arlan Hatloe surprised his colleagues Wednesday by announcing he’s resigning effective at the end of the year.
Hatloe, who has a year remaining on his third council term, said the time had come to enjoy retirement with his wife, spending the winter months in warmer climes.
The news broke during an afternoon City Council meeting.
“I didn’t tell anyone so everybody was kind of surprised,” Hatloe said afterward.
Hatloe, 71, comes from a family with deep ties to Everett, including a grandfather who arrived here from Norway in 1905.
He first joined the City Council 11 years ago, and has more seniority than any of his peers except for Council President Ron Gipson. He had won respect for his business acumen.
When Hatloe first ran for the City Council, he had never before served in public office. He thought his business background would prove valuable.
“I was only going to run for the one term, then I got hooked” on city projects he was working on, he said.
Shortly after he joined the City Council, Hatloe retired from his job of more than 40 years, running the paint and home decoration store that bears the family name. It was started in 1939 by his father and grandfather. His two sons now run the business.
Hatloe said he was most proud of work he did on the council to help bring the Everett Events Center, now called Comcast Arena, to downtown in 2003. He also spoke of his later efforts to help the city oversee the facility’s management.
“That’s one of the projects that I’ve enjoyed working on,” he said.
He also said he was happy, early in his tenure, to have encouraged the city to set up a reserve fund that’s helped keep Everett in respectable financial shape.
The most difficult thing about his public service, Hatloe said, was often dealing with single-issue activists who would constantly fault elected officials for their decisions.
“It’s very frustrating when you’re trying to do the best that you can do for the broader public,” he said.
An example, he said, were the neighbors who objected to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett’s 12-story, $460 million medical tower, which opened in mid-2011.
“This is a wonderful project that benefits everybody,” he said.
After hearing Hatloe’s resignation announcement, council colleagues said they were sad to see him leaving, but comforted that he’d only be a phone call away.
“I’m professionally and personally saddened that he won’t be serving with us again next year,” Council Vice President Jeff Moore said. “The experience and help and wisdom that he’s provided to me over the past few years has been tremendous.”
Councilman Shannon Affholter said he hoped people in the community would appreciate the impact Hatloe has had “in so many ways.”
The City Council is likely to begin accepting applications in the coming weeks from candidates who are interested in filling the soon-to-be-vacant seat. Whoever gets the appointment would serve out the final year of Hatloe’s term, until a new person is sworn in after the November 2013 elections.
Hatloe doesn’t get an official say in his replacement, but said he would support businesswoman Gigi Burke or somebody with similar qualifications and dedication to Everett.
Burke had filled in as an interim council member after former Councilman Drew Nielsen’s death in May in a rafting accident.
Minutes before Hatloe announced his resignation, newly elected City Councilman Scott Bader was sworn in to Nielsen’s old seat.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; email@example.com.