Lewis Rodney “Rod” Higgins was doubly lucky on Tuesday night.
After the six remaining members of the Spokane Valley City Council reached a stalemate after three tries to choose a new appointee to fill the vacancy created when Brenda Grassel resigned at the end of last year, protocol offered a time-honored solution to such problems: a coin toss.
Since Higgins’ name is closest to the letter A (the first bit of luck) than the other candidate, Linda Thompson, he was designated “heads” – which came up the winner (the second) after flick of City Manager Mike Jackson’s thumb.
Those in attendance at the meeting sat bemused, as Higgins – who now will have to leave the Planning Commission, creating yet another vacancy – was sworn in and joined the remaining council members at the dais. Thompson, and others who had been picked for interviews last week, went home.
Those supporting Higgins were Council Members Arne Woodard, Dean Grafos and Chuck Hafner. Voting for Thompson were Mayor Tom Towey, Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels and Council Member Ben Wick.
Prior to Tuesday’s study session, the council spent an hour in executive session reviewing the candidates’ credentials and interview responses.
Higgins will now serve until the results of the November 2013 general election are certified Nov. 26. If he wishes to continue to be on the council, he will have to file and run for the Position 1 seat this summer.
Higgins is a retired director of the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals and holds a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of Idaho. He has been active in the community, a longtime presence at council meetings and has served on the Planning Commission since January 2012.
Higgins ran for City Council in 2011, ultimately losing to Marilyn Cline in the primary election. Cline lost to Ben Wick in that year’s general election.
Higgins has been an advocate of lean, service-oriented government and low taxes.
“Most important is ensuring that a business-friendly framework is in place to assist the private sector in successfully doing business and thereby creating jobs,” Higgins said during his campaign.
Higgins first order of business on Tuesday was to join the council in approving a series of code-text amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan and an interlocal agreement with Spokane County to utilize Geographic Information Systems software for mapping purposes.
The council will not meet next Tuesday, as several members will be in Olympia for meetings with legislators.
The next meeting will be a study session on Feb. 19.