Edmonds Council must act before March 31

The Edmonds City Council has until March 31 to break a deadlock on appointment of a new member to replace former Councilman Frank Yamamoto, who resigned at the end of December because of illness.

State law for filling vacancies on nonpartisan elected councils, boards and commissions gives the remaining members of the body 90 days to fill the vacancy. If the remaining members don’t give one applicant a majority within 90 days, the appointment power goes to the county legislative body, in this case the five-member Snohomish County Council. The county council would then have 90 additional days to make the appointment.

If neither the city council nor the county council can reach a majority decision, either body can petition the governor to make the appointment. That’s unlikely with the Snohomish County Council having a full five members.

City Council President Diane Buckshnis had said before the Tuesday, Feb. 11 meeting that she expected the council to make an appointment at the meeting, but she said Wednesday, “The appointment process was moved to the 18th of February as we had a deadlock between Stephen Shroeder and Steve Bernheim.”

After the deadlock, the council adjourned to executive session.

“After the executive session, it was decided that some Council members wanted more time to follow through on some of the applicants’ statements and to re-review the interview process,” Buckshnis said.

Former Councilman Bernheim had three votes, as did former federal prosecutor Schroeder. The delay will take the appointment process to a fourth week. The council interviewed 14 candidates on 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.

The appointed council member will serve through the 2015 election.

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