Snohomish residents get their first view of new government

In the packed meeting, one outgoing councilman urged folks to stay involved.

Snohomish Mayor John Kartak

Snohomish Mayor John Kartak

SNOHOMISH — People packed into the Snohomish City Council chambers to welcome a new mayor and four council members Tuesday.

Every chair was taken. Some found seats atop a table or stood by the backdoor.

They waited to get a first glimpse of what Snohomish will look like under its new form of government.

Tuesday’s meeting was a chance for people to invite the incoming council to meet with their respective committees or organizations, and to learn about their upcoming projects. Several people spoke of tolerance, after a campaign season that turned ugly. Bill Betten, a man who doesn’t live in town and pressed to change how the city does business, apologized for what he described as his “aggressive activism.”

Some things didn’t change.

Morgan Davis, who rarely misses a council meeting, continued his habit of offering public comments on nearly every agenda item.

Newly elected Mayor John Kartak started off the meeting. He skipped a procedural step of excusing Councilman Derrick Burke, who was absent. Veteran council members were quick to correct the oversight and to provide direction throughout the meeting.

“Excuse me, this is new for me,” Kartak said.

Someone from the crowd shouted: “Breathe, John.”

A stream of people stood up to speak during public comment. Meagan Gray, who unsuccessfully ran for council this year, shared word about a new group in town. They are encouraging people to discuss city issues face-to-face, rather than over computer forums.

“We’re going to build bridges, not talk about it,” Gray said.

The mayoral election divided much of the town, and it showed on social media. Betten, who was active on those sites, apologized Tuesday.

“Sometimes you need to be loud to be heard,” he said.

City attorney Grant Weed swore in Kartak as mayor. His term is four years. Some people stood and inched closer to the center of the room to get a better view. A woman in the audience recorded his oath of office. She told Kartak to say hello to his mother who couldn’t be there Tuesday night.

“Hi, Mom,” Kartak said.

Weed also swore in Tom Merrill, Linda Redmon, Larry Countryman and Steve Dana who will soon join the City Council. When Weed faced Dana to lead him through the oath he joked, “I feel like I should call him boss.” Weed used to cook for him years ago at the Hub Drive-In, Dana’s family business that has since closed.

The new council members are set to begin work Jan. 1. They sat in the audience among the crowd Tuesday. Current Councilman Jason Sanders also took his oath office for a two-year term.

Now that Snohomish voters have elected the town’s new leadership, the city is cleaning up its code to reflect the change in government. The council passed two ordinances Tuesday amending language that refers to the city manager. That position no longer exists under the strong-mayor form of government. The ordinances also transferred authority to the mayor where administrative matters are concerned. The council will continue to handle policy decisions.

The city recognized outgoing Councilmen Tom Hamilton, Dean Randall and Michael Rohrscheib. Each received a plaque for their service.

Randall laughed, thinking back to the first task he completed as a councilman. In 1996, he attended a ribbon cutting for the new sewage treatment plant.

Rohrscheib urged people in the packed room to stay involved in their town.

“Keep showing up. This room shouldn’t be empty, that’s a problem,” he said.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Zachary Robbins
Marysville superintendent could start a month early

A June start means Zachary Robbins could weigh in on a $13.5 million budget shortfall and a parental consent policy for clubs.

Arlington
Driver dies after rollover crash at Smokey Point

The deceased man, 25, reportedly sped off from police before crashing into a nearby utility pole. A woman, 19, was injured.

Epic Ford on the corner of 52nd Street and Evergreen Way in Everett is closed. The dealership has been in business for more than 50 years. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
After 50 years, Everett’s Epic Ford dealership closes shop

It opened in 1971, when gas guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang still ruled the road.

Nuno Taborda
Former Rolls Royce executive to lead Everett aerospace firm

magniX, which builds electric aircraft motors, has hired Nuno Taborda as its next CEO.

Marysville
Smokey Point Boulevard stretch closed for crash investigation

The road was closed between 136th Street NE and 152nd Street NE after a possibly fatal collision.

The Mountain Loop Highway between Darrington and Granite Falls remains closed beyond Barlow Pass. (Snohomish County)
Oops, Mountain Loop Highway only partly open

A miscommunication led Snohomish County to misstate how much of the road is open.

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2020, file photo, a Washington state Department of Agriculture worker holds two of the dozens of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a tree in Blaine, Wash. Authorities say they've found the first Asian giant hornet nest of 2021 in a rural area east of Blaine. State entomologists will now develop a plan to eradicate the nest. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Scientists will set 1,000 traps for murder hornets this year

Asian Giant hornets, first detected in 2019, are are believed to be confined in Whatcom County.

Janette Burk and Timur Keskinturk are fighting to keep their coffee shop location in Alderwood Mall. Photographed in Seattle, Washington on May 23, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A Turkish café served coffee next to Starbucks. They were told to move.

After years, Kismet Turkish Cafe Bakery’s owners say they were told to relocate in Alderwood mall due to a nearby Starbucks kiosk.

Monroe High School with (inset) a Facebook video screenshot from Nov. 10, 2021, which showed a white student repeatedly using racial slurs in a confrontation with a Black student.
‘It makes me angry’: Black students in Monroe report persistent racism

“Please help stop this racism,” a first-grade student told the Monroe school board Monday. Other kids reported racist slurs.

Most Read