Deadlock delays Edmonds City Council appointment

The Edmonds City Council delayed a decision from Tuesday, Feb. 11, to Feb. 18 on filling a vacancy on the council after 27 ballots couldn’t break a council deadlock.

Former Councilman Steve Bernheim had three votes through all 27 ballots — from Councilwomen Joan Bloom, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Lora Petso.

The other three Council members — Diane Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Strom Peterson — each nominated a different candidate but finally settled on former federal prosecutor Stephen Schroeder.

After the 27th ballot couldn’t break the 3-3 tie, the council went into executive session. When the council members returned to open session, they voted to delay the decision.

The delay will take the appointment process to a fourth week. The council interviewed 14 candidates Jan. 28, then asked seven applicants for more information, six through interviews Feb. 4 and one who answered questions by e-mail because he was unavailable for that meeting. When several of the other applicants sought the same opportunity, the council brought two of them back for interviews Feb. 11, while others answered questions by e-mail.

Now, the council must try to break the deadlock.

The deadlock came five years after the council had an even longer deadlock before appointing Peterson, who then won full four-year terms in 2009 and 2013.

Buckshnis, who lost to Peterson for the 2009 appointment and again in the election later that year, won appointment to the council in 2010 and election to a full term in 2011.

Petso and Johnson also joined the council by appointment before winning election to full terms.

Now, the council must appoint someone to replace former Councilman Frank Yamamoto, who resigned late last year due to illness.

The replacement will serve through the 2015 election.

The appointment requires votes from four city council members. If the council ultimately can’t settle on a candidate, the five-member Snohomish County Council will make the decision.

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