Brenda Stonecipher, left, and Mary Fosse

Brenda Stonecipher, left, and Mary Fosse

Everett council president backs down from ban on holding 2 offices

On Wednesday, over 20 speakers showed up to support City Council member Mary Fosse’s ability to serve in the state Legislature.

EVERETT — After an hourlong show of public opposition, soon-to-depart Everett City Council President Brenda Stonecipher withdrew her motion to prohibit council members from holding more than one elected position.

Stonecipher introduced the idea at a council meeting last week. It would have only applied to council member Mary Fosse, also a state representative for the 38th Legislative District.

At public comment Wednesday, residents in Fosse’s district and other parts of Everett — as well as Marysville, Arlington and Lake Stevens — took the podium. All 22 speakers opposed the ordinance.

Only standing room was available in the council chambers. Throughout public comment, attendees clapped and cheered on statements they agreed with, despite Stonecipher’s reminders that displays of support were not allowed.

“If there were concerns that someone was not able to do both jobs with the competency and passion and dedication that council member Fosse has, then that is for voters to decide on the ballot, not for this body to,” said North Everett resident Annie Landis.

Charles Adkins, who was recently elected to the Everett School Board, also voiced his opposition.

“This measure will not serve voters, but rather take away voter autonomy and place unnecessary limitations on our right to decide who represents us at the city level,” he told the council.

No members of the public spoke in support of the motion.

“I see it as an opportunity for the city of Everett to have her in Olympia helping us here, we need all the help we can get,” said Isabella Valencia, owner of Black Lab Gallery in downtown Everett. “Please keep Mary Fosse right where we need her.”

“No clapping please,” Stonecipher noted after Valencia’s comments.

Council members Paula Rhyne and Liz Vogeli urged Stonecipher to withdraw the motion, noting Fosse’s legislative position is considered a part-time job.

“Most of us with other jobs have full-time jobs, and families, and lives,” Rhyne said. “All of these things inform our work here as City Council members.”

She continued: “I don’t support excluding certain types of supplemental employment from being able to serve on council, that’s not my role, that’s for the voters to decide.”

In her comments, Fosse thanked the public for speaking at the meeting and expressed disappointment in the proposed ordinance.

“I think what’s happening right now is a disservice to the community and a disservice to my neighbors,” she said.

Throughout public comment, people urged the city council to focus on other issues like homelessness and public safety, citing the shooting at Henry M. Jackson Park two weeks ago that left a teenager dead.

“I think it’s a waste of everyone’s time, energy and effort,” said Karina Burns, who lives in the Delta Neighborhood. “It’s more indication of the fact that council has been focused in entirely the wrong direction for entirely too long.”

Stonecipher concluded the comments by tabling the ordinance indefinitely. Her term ends at the end of the year, when former City Council member Scott Bader will move into her at-large seat.

Stonecipher motioned to withdraw the ordinance and refer it for consideration to the Charter Review Commission, which won’t meet until 2026. It was approved 7-0.

“It’s very gratifying for me to have a discussion and hear from others,” Stonecipher said. “I do still think there are issues on both sides.”

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623;; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

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