From left: Elizabeth Callaghan, Sid Roberts and Rob Johnson. (City of Stanwood)

From left: Elizabeth Callaghan, Sid Roberts and Rob Johnson. (City of Stanwood)

3 city council members apply for Stanwood’s mayoral vacancy

Candidates will get five minutes to speak before other council members choose a mayor on Thursday.

STANWOOD — A trio of city councilmembers are vying to be the next mayor of Stanwood.

Councilmembers Rob Johnson, Elizabeth Callaghan and Sid Roberts each applied to fill the remaining year-and-a-half of former Mayor Leonard Kelley’s term. Kelley resigned earlier this month, citing health concerns.

During this Thursday’s meeting of the city council, each candidate will be allotted five minutes to share their qualifications and interests. The remaining four councilmembers will enter a private executive session to discuss the candidates and then make an appointment. Applicants will not participate in the executive session.

The mayor of Stanwood makes $1,500 a month.

At its regular July 9 meeting, the city council decided applications for the mayoral vacancy would only be open to current members of the council due to a perceived burden that a newcomer might place on city staff. Johnson and Callaghan favored opening applications to community members, Roberts voted against the motion.

Johnson is in the midst of his second term on the council and boasts elected experience as a state representative from 1991 to 1995. He was also on the Mount Vernon School Board for three years starting in 2003 and was recently elected as commissioner for the North County Regional Fire Authority.

“Issues in Stanwood always include streets, sewers, water, public safety and planning for growth. I have extensive exposure to those subjects along with extensive background in business and finance,” Johnson said in his letter of consideration. “… The only promise I can make is to give the position my very best effort if chosen.”

For the past decade, Callaghan has split her time between the Stanwood City Council, from 2012 to 2013 and since 2016, and the city Planning Commission, from 2010 to 2011 and again from 2013 to 2015. If appointed, Callaghan said, she wants to bring residents together and support the city to reach its greatest potential.

“In the current COVID atmosphere it is critical that as a city we not only make available any and all resources to our businesses and citizens, but that we also help find creative solutions to keep our community thriving,” Callaghan said in her letter of consideration. “As restrictions are lifted, and the virus weakens, many of our local events will need to be re-evaluated. The city can help be a facilitator and a support to get all of our creative and capable citizens working together to rebuild what we love most about living in this beautiful small town.”

Roberts was elected to the city council in 2019 but has experience on local governing committees, including the Lynnwood City Council from 2012 to 2015, the Community Transit board, the Snohomish County Board of Health and the Stanwood Planning Commission from 2018 to 2019. Roberts said his belief in government includes collaboration, transparency and healthy debate.

“I would count it a humble privilege to serve Stanwood as the mayor and would look forward to helping the City of Stanwood, city staff and the city council in any way possible,” Roberts said in his application.

Following the appointment of a new mayor, the council will be tasked with appointing a member of the community to fill the vacated council position.

Councilmember Dianne White, mayor of Stanwood from 2006 to 2013, has served as mayor pro tem since Kelley’s resignation on July 6.

Thursday’s council meeting will be available online at starting at 7 p.m.

Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3448;; Twitter: @IanDavisLeonard.

Ian Davis-Leonard reports on working class issues through Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. To support Ian’s work at The Daily Herald with a tax-deductible donation, go to

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