The council chambers was packed with well-wishers, cake was cut and a new mayor was named for Spokane Valley on Tuesday evening.
The majority of the council named Ben Wick mayor, who succeeds Rod Higgins. The council also confirmed Brandi Peetz as the new deputy mayor, stepping in for Pam Haley.
Higgins demonstratively did not vote for either.
“Congratulations, Mr. Wick, you are our new mayor,” declared City Clerk Chris Bainbridge after the votes were tallied.
Council Member Linda Thompson declined nominations for mayor and deputy mayor, as did newest Council Member Tim Hattenburg – who was sworn in prior to the meeting – for the latter position.
Under the Valley’s council-manager form of government, the council picks a mayor every other year. With Hattenburg’s election – he replaces a more conservative Sam Wood, who decided not to run again – the majority of the council has moved more toward the center.
Hattenburg – who has served on the Spokane County Library board of trustees -- has previously run against 4th District Rep. Matt Shea as a Democrat.
Wick, along with his wife Danica, owns and publishes the monthly Liberty Lake Splash and Spokane Valley Current newspapers.