Earling approved to Sound Transit Board; Marine out

EVERETT — The Snohomish County Council settled a contentious appointment to the Sound Transit Board of Directors on Wednesday, approving Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling’s nomination.

The 3-1 vote effectively removed Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine from the Sound Transit board, where he has served for the past four years and had hoped to remain. Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon had recommended Earling for the job, citing his experience in transit and growth management. Marine had called Reardon’s decision political payback for not supporting Reardon’s re-election to the executive’s job last year.

County Councilman Dave Gossett, before casting his vote with the majority, said there was no good reason to reject Earling based on his qualifications.

“This is a difficult situation we find ourselves in because Joe Marine has served us very well on Sound Transit,” Gossett said.

But, Gossett noted, the appointment process in state law clearly gives Reardon — not the council — the authority to make the choice.

All of the council members present on Wednesday were Democrats, as is Reardon. Both Marine and Earling are Republicans, though the mayors’ jobs are nonpartisan in Edmonds and Mukilteo. Council Chairman Brian Sullivan, who hails from Mukilteo, cast the lone “no” vote. Republican Councilman John Koster was absent.

Sound Transit oversees buses and commuter trains in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. Three of its 18-member governing board come from Snohomish County. The current appointment had to go to a Community Transit board member from south Snohomish County.

The other Snohomish County leaders serving with the Sound Transit board are Reardon, who is a vice chairman, and Everett City Councilman Paul Roberts.

Earling won his first term as Edmonds mayor in November. He previously served on Sound Transit’s board while he was an Edmonds city councilman from 1992 until 2003. That included stints as the board’s chairman and vice chairman.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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