Retiring council members in Lake Forest Park and in Shoreline were recognized during the last council meetings of the year.
Lake Forest Park Councilman Roger Olstad, who did not run for re-election, told those at a City Hall reception Dec. 13 that serving on the city council was like a roller coaster ride.
“It had its ups and downs and eventually you decide to ride again,” he said. “But after eight years the ride has ended and I’ve decided to get off.”
Olstad was elected to the council in November 1999 and served as the mayor pro tempore. Prior to his two terms as a councilman, Olstad was a founding member of the Friends of Third Place Commons and a member and chair of the Environmental Quality Commission. He is part of the Board of Trustees for Shoreline Community College and plans to continue serving in the capacity.
“Roger Olstad is known for commitment to a respectful hearing of all perspectives on issues before the council,” Mayor Dave Hutchinson said, reading from a proclamation honoring Olstad’s service.
There are four kinds of term limits, Olstad said. One is regulated, another is determined by citizen vote, a third ends when the official steps down and a final limit is based on a person’s mortality.
“I decided to exercise option three before four,” he said, inciting laughter.
Turning to his fellow council members, he wished them wisdom and thoughtful deliberation. To his wife, Connie, he said he’ll be back home on Thursday nights. But, he added, the end of his career as an elected official doesn’t mean he won’t be involved in the city of Lake Forest Park. Olstad will continue to be on the Board of Trustees for Shoreline Community College, remain a member of the EQC and reacquaint himself with the Friends of Third Place Commons.
Councilman pro tempore Steve Plusch and office administrator Ruth Moe Edelman were also recognized at the reception. Plusch was selected to fill Councilman Dwight Thompson’s seat in November 2006 when Thompson was called to military duty in Afghanistan. Thompson was re-elected to his seat in this year’s general election and will return in January 2008.
“It was an honor and privilege to serve with every one of you,” Plusch told his fellow council members. “It was great to know too when I had a bright idea someone had more experience than me and knew what the unintended consequences might be and were very quick to tell me.”
Edelman began her working career in July 1985 when the city employed only four municipal employees. Throughout her 22-year career, she worked with four mayors, four city administrators and numerous council members.
“Retirement will be a new and wonderful thing for me,” she said while accepting a proclamation made in her honor.
Dec. 17 was the last council meeting for three retiring councilmembers in Shoreline. After 10 years of service, Councilman Rich Gustafson said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and traveling.
“It’s my plea that the new council continue to complete the vision of all those people who fought so hard for us to become a city,” he said and shared 12 goals he began with in 1997.
A former employee of the Shoreline School District, Gustafson said he felt like a connector between the city and the district.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is a facility use partnership with the school district and Spartan Recreation Center being the result,” he said.
Shoreline resident Paul Herrick expressed his appreciation for Gustafson.
“I know that I speak for many citizens in our city when I say thank you Councilmember Gustafson for your many years of public service,” Herrick said.
Deputy Mayor Maggie Fimia and Mayor Bob Ransom were also awarded plaques for their public service. Both ran for re-election, but lost their seats in this year’s general election.
Fimia was elected to the Shoreline City Council in 2003 and served on the King County Council from 1994 to 2001. She encouraged others to become involved in their local government.
“Please step up, learn the ropes,” she said. “I know it seems like a very difficult thing to do and it is, but it’s equally rewarding.”
Mayor Bob Ransom acknowledged 14 council members who he worked with over the course of his 12 years on the cioty council.
“I think Bob’s years of public service are very exemplary and Bob, you can be very proud of the fact you helped form Shoreline,” city manager Bob Olander said. “You’ve left a great legacy.”