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Edmonds City Council: Help wanted

Low pay, long hours, but prestige


December 26, 2019

The election is over, and a new mayor is on the way, along with three new councilmembers: Vivian Olson, Susan Paine and Laura Johnson.

But there's still one position open: The Position 2 seat left vacant after Mike Nelson defeated fellow Councilmember Neil Tibbott to win a four-year mayoral term.

Want a seat on council?

Applications are now being accepted for the position, which pays $15,000 per year, and will increase to $16,000 in 2020 and $17,000 in 2021. The deal also includes self-only medical insurance or the cash equivalent. A council president makes $300 a month more and will be appointed early next year.

The Edmonds Salary Commission determines all pay increases.

Nelson will make $130,972, a 4% increase over Earling's last annual salary. In 2021, his salary will increase by 4% again – to $136,211. Nelson is resigning from his paid position as executive director of the Service Employees International Union.

There is some suspense here. Will those who lost their election bids throw their names into the ring? Will the person chosen be female, leading to the City's first full, all-female council?

The new councilmember will be appointed early in the new year, Nelson said. Councilmembers will lead the application process, and applicants will participate in council interviews the public can watch online and in-person.

Joining Olson, Paine and Johnson will be incumbents Diane Buckshnis, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, and Kristiana Johnson.

Even with the pay increases, a councilmember position is considered a part-time job, even though the City's legislative's branch carries tremendous responsibility. It's a reason why many councilmembers are retired but have previous experience in municipal government, or in the corporate or nonprofit world.

Meetings are held every Tuesday (except for fifth Tuesday in the month) and can take up to three hours, often more. In addition, councilmembers are assigned to city, county or even state commissions, and report back to other councilmembers.

So, are you ready to apply?

First, you must be registered to vote within city limits and have been a resident of Edmonds for one year immediately preceding the appointment.

Then, the application asks the following:

– What is your volunteer experience?

– Have you previously served as an elected official or do you have any experience as an appointed official including public boards, commissions, committees, etc., in either Edmonds or elsewhere?

– What are three of your greatest strengths and three of your greatest weaknesses?

– What would be your top three priorities for the city?

– What do you see as yours and the council's role in our community?

– What do you believe to be the greatest challenge for the City Council?

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Applicants may attach a cover letter and/or resume in addition to the application form. Email application materials to Maureen.judge@edmondswa.gov.

You may also print the completed form and drop off your application materials at the first-floor reception desk at City Hall, 121 Fifth Ave. N., Edmonds.

If you are mailing your application, it must reach the office by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Mail to Edmonds City Council Office, 121 Fifth Ave N., Edmonds, WA 98020.

Interviews are tentatively scheduled for the week of Jan. 13.

Councilmembers will consider nominations at their Jan. 21 meeting.


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