Gold Bar asks county to make council appointment

GOLD BAR — This Skykomish Valley city has spent the past three months trying to fill a City Council vacancy, without any luck.

Notices posted at City Hall and the Post Office in this town of slightly more than 2,000 failed to attract any takers. Neither did newspaper ads.

Now, Gold Bar city officials have asked Snohomish County to appoint somebody to the job, a step allowed under state law.

To attract a willing Gold Bar resident to the post, the county plans to start running ads this week, in print and online.

The situation is highly unusual. Since at least 1980, when the county switched its style of government, there is no record of any similar requests.

“We’ve never been called upon to perform this duty for a city, at least not since we became a council form of government,” said Kathryn Bratcher, the clerk of the County Council.

The vacancy on the five-member Gold Bar City Council arose after Councilman Charles Lie resigned on Jan. 2. Under state law, the city had 90 days to fill his position. The county has 180 days from the time the vacancy occurred to try to work its magic.

Any Gold Bar resident who wants to apply to serve on the City Council can mail, fax, email or hand deliver the county a letter of interest by the close of business on May 25.

To be eligible, a person must be a registered voter who has lived within Gold Bar city limits for at least one year.

The successful candidate gets to serve out the remainder of Lie’s term, which expires is 2013. Lie ran unopposed for the council job in 2009, winning 92.5 percent of the vote.

The position pays $100 per month, said Laura Kelly, Gold Bar’s city clerk and treasurer. The short-handed City Council has so far encountered no problems with reaching a quorum, Kelly said.

If the county fails to drum up any interest, there is another step Gold Bar can take: asking Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office to get involved.

During Gregoire’s tenure, which began in 2005, only once has a city asked for help with an appointment, governor’s spokeswoman Karina Shagren said. That was Mesa, near the Tri-Cities, which in 2010 was having trouble filling the mayor’s job. Ultimately, the governor declined to fill the vacancy.

The law’s vague about what to do if the governor strikes out as well.

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

Registered voters who have lived at least one year in Gold Bar can apply to serve on the Gold Bar City Council.

By letter: the Clerk of the Council, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., eighth floor Admin East, MS 609, Everett WA 98201.

By email: Contact.Council@Snoco.org

By fax: 425-388-3496.

For questions, call Kathryn Bratcher at 425-388-3458.

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