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The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Eight in running for vacant City Council seat


Managing Editor


Eight have come forward desiring to fill a vacant spot on the Spokane Valley City Council, but only two are relative newcomers to the process and one other has already voiced his intention to run for election in the fall.

The deadline to apply for an interim vacancy on the council, created when Bob McCaslin passed away in March, was Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The process to fill the vacancy is similar to the one that was used to fill the spot created when Council Member Rose Dempsey resigned in March. Arne Woodard, a real estate broker and owner of Woodard Properties, was appointed in a 4-1 vote to take over in her place.

Like Woodard, the new council member will hold the job until voters make their selections in November. Woodard has already announced his intention to run for office. The voters’ choice will then retain the seat until the end of 2013.
The applicants are:

  • John Baldwin – One of the original seekers of a council position in 2002 (he ran for Position 7, which ended up won by Dick Denenny), the longtime Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort volunteer most recently worked as a security officer at Honeywell in Spokane Valley. Baldwin was one of the initial applicants for Dempsey’s position but was not granted an interview.
  • Michael Godek – A director of a home-care agency, Godek says he wants to “advocate for families in Spokane Valley” and states that the city’s No. 1 priority is finding a suitable replacement for Ken Thompson, who is retiring as finance director.
  • DeeDee Loberg – A supporter of the Sprague-Appleway Revitalization Plan, Loberg describes herself as a community activist who would bring a “non-business” perspective to the council. She sought Dempsey’s vacant seat and was not granted an interview by the council.
  • Chuck Hafner – A retired assistant school superintendent, Hafner was the architect of the “Positive Change” movement last fall that saw four new council members elected to office who opposed SARP. Hafner had already announced his intention to run for a council position in November but did not indicate which spot he was interested in.
  • Steven Neill – An outspoken critic of SARP, Neill works as a materials coordinator. He also was an applicant for the Planning Commission last year and was granted an interview for the council position that was eventually awarded to Woodard.
  • Ben Wick – Another of the original seekers of a City Council post in 2002 (he was 19 at the time) and again in 2009, Wick is a graduate of East Valley High School and currently an information technology systems administrator for Goodrich Corp. He is also a member of the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center Advisory Board. He was granted an interview for Dempsey’s council spot.
  • Jennie Willardson – A challenger to Steve Taylor for council in 2005, Willardson has also been an applicant for the Planning Commission (in 2008). She works as a customer-service representative for West Corp. She, too, sought and lost out to Woodard for Dempsey’s council post.
  • Samuel Wood – A real estate appraiser, Wood says he believes Sprague Avenue needs to be turned back to a two-way street and that the council needs to work with small-business owners to “brainstorm about the future of Spokane Valley.”

The appointee, as in Woodard’s case, will have to run for office in November. Those eligible to apply must be residents of Spokane Valley who have lived within the city limits for at least one year and are registered to vote.
The City Council plans to review the applications and then select the applicants to be interviewed next Tuesday, April 26. On May 10, the candidates will be interviewed in open session with a final appointment slated for May 17.

Finally, the council also needs to appoint someone to fill the spot on the city Planning Commission vacated by Woodard when he was appointed to the council.
Planning commissioners are responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on proposed development, land use, annual review of the city’s comprehensive plan, development regulations, and more. The commissioners generally meet twice a month on the second and fourth Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The City Council anticipates making an appointment at its May 10 meeting.

The appointment will be to complete a term which ends Dec. 31, 2011. Residents of Spokane Valley who are interested, experienced, or trained in planning, land use, transportation, capital infrastructure, or building and landscape design are encouraged to apply for this volunteer position.

Original, signed applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.
Submit applications to: City Clerk Chris Bainbridge, City of Spokane Valley, 11707 E. Sprague Ave., Suite 106, Spokane Valley, WA 99206.
Copies, faxed applications, or emailed applications will not be accepted for consideration.
Application forms are available on the city’s Web site at www.spokanevalley.org by selecting the link provided under “City News,” or by contacting City Clerk Chris Bainbridge at 509-720-5102.

TheSpokane Valley News Herald
is the City of Spokane Valley, Washington's official Newspaper. The City Council of the City of Spokane Valley, Washington named the Spokane Valley News Herald as the city's "official" newspaper. The designation means the Spokane Valley News Herald will publish the city's legal notices on a contract basis for one year.

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