Tacoma council will solicit applicants for temporary vacancy

Tacoma News TribuneDecember 3, 2013 

The Tacoma City Council will act swiftly to select an interim council member to take the place of Anders Ibsen, who will leave his post for about a year to complete military training.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to start accepting applications Wednesday through Dec. 12. Each applicant will have three minutes to present to the City Council during a study session on Dec. 17.

The council could make a choice that night, which will be Ibsen’s last council meeting before leaving for training in January. He could vote on his replacement.

State law allows for elected leaders to take leaves of absence to perform military service. In Ibsen’s case, he plans to train for an officer’s billet in the U.S. Marine Corps reserves.

The council learned of his upcoming leave last week. Ibsen said he wants the council to place Jordan Rash, vice chair of the North End Neighborhood Council and conservation director for Forterra, in his position.

But the rest of the council members said they wanted to see an open process that allows any interested party to apply to temporarily represent District 1, which includes parts of the North and West ends.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland presented the timeline during a 3 p.m. meeting on Tuesday.

“I think it’s important to have a transparent process,” Strickland said.

She also said it was important for the district to have a representative during Ibsen’s absence.

While Ibsen said he would like to stay in touch with city and district matters through email and phone calls, Strickland said “I want you to be fully concentrating on your training.”

Two people besides Rash have expressed interest in the post: former two-time councilman Spiro Manthou and Ibsen’s 2011 opponent Karen Smitherman.

Those interested in applying for the temporary position can do so via the city website. In addition to the application, people should submit a resume and a cover letter.

The exact length of the interim council member’s service is indeterminate, as Ibsen could return at any time for a variety of reasons.

“We could say ‘break a leg’ and then it happens,” Councilwoman Victoria Woodards said.

For information or to download an application, log on to the city website.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542

kate.martin@thenewstribune.com

@KateReports

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