Deadlock so far on council appointment

10:00 am October 7th, 2013

By Pat Jenkins
The Dispatch
An appointment to an empty Eatonville Town Council seat must wait after council members were split on all three applicants.
Adam Norton, James Schrimpsher and David Smith each received two votes in support of them and two votes against them from the four current members they hope to join. But they’re still in the running to be appointed at a later date.
“Don’t be discouraged. We’ll go through all this again,” Councilman Brendan Pierce told the applicants after a consensus on who to appoint wasn’t reached at the Sept. 23 council meeting. He suggested that a decision could be made at a council meeting in October.
Under state law regarding appointment prlocesses, the council can take until Nov. 7 to make a choice. After that, the task would fall to Pierce County officials.
Council members indicated the applicants are acceptable.
“The town is lucky to have good people like you who want to be involved. I just don’t know you that well yet,” Pierce said.
“I’d be happy to serve with any of you,” said Councilman Gordon Bowman.
“These are three really good candidates,” added Mayor Ray Harper.
Norton, Schrimpsher and Smith applied for the opening created by the resignation Aug. 7 of Jim Valentine. Each of them, at the council’s invitation, spoke at last week’s meeting about their interest in serving on the council. They also answered questions from current council members.
Norton pointed to his involvement as a coach and volunteer with youth sports and the annual Relay for Life cancer fund-raiser as examples of his commitment to the community. The former Graham resident said he moved his family to Eatonville for its “small-town” benefits.
But Norton said he also wants to cut through a “good old boy network” espoused by some in the town as the only way that “things work.”
Norton, a member of a labor union, said when asked that he would be able to represent the town’s interests impartially when a union contract with its employees is being negotiated.
Schrimpsher, a Missouri native and Navy veteran, said he believes that “if there’s a need, you should step up.” He’s done that as a youth sports coach, and he’s willing to do it for Town Hall, he said.
On the subject of government experience, Schrimpsher noted that part of his administrative role as a detective in the Algona Police Department is to negotiate contracts for that city’s police-related services, including arrangements with other jurisdictions to jail prisoners. “I’m very familiar with how small-town government works,” he said.
Smith, who lost as a write-in candidate to Valentine in the 2011 election, has owned several businesses in Eatonville. He sold one of them, Eatonville Towing, because he didn’t want to have a potential conflict of interest in its business dealings with the town if he was ever elected to the council or mayor, he said.
His business experience would help him as a council member, Smith added, noting, “I’m good at improving businesses. If the town can get its finances in order, everything else will fall in place.”
An eventual appointee to the council vacancy will, along with any other candidate, be able to run for the office when it’s up for election in 2015.

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