Sumner City Council voted 5-1 to appoint Sumner resident Earle Stuard to the open city council position on Tuesday.
Councilmembers found themselves with an open seat after Mike LeMaster stepped down in February, due to time constraints with work.
“I feel great. I’m really excited to get back on the council,” Stuard said after he was voted to fill the position.
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Stuard is a former Sumner City Council member who served a four-year term that ended at the end of 2017. He decided not to run for re-election for the 2018-2021 term.
“There was an issue, a family issue,” Stuard said. “I wasn’t sure how that was going to turn out.”
Stuard was on the city’s planning commission from 2009 and 2013 and has worked for 38 years in finance at the city of Bellevue. He also has 15 years of volunteer experience helping Boy Scouts earn their Eagle Scout badges, 13 years of volunteer work as a track and field coach and 10 years of experience leading a local Latter-day Saints congregation.
Stuard was one of nine applications the city received for the position. Two of those applications withdrew. The seven remaining candidates were Stuard, Andrew Elfers, Jesse Burnham, Rhiannon Williams-Sanchez, Robert Healy, Greg Reinke, Veronica Shakotko and Immaculate Ferreria-Allah. Each applicant was asked to provide a resume and to answer four supplemental questions.
The appointment process required the candidates to participate in public interviews with city council, where they spoke in response to five questions:
- Why do you want to serve on city council?
- What experiences, talents and skills do you bring to the council?
- What do you wish to accomplish if appointed to city council?
- Could you estimate the number of council and study session meetings attended in person in 2017?
- Could you estimate the time willing to commit to council beyond the weekly Monday meetings per week?
“My vision is to provide a safe, comfortable and energetic environment in which our residents and business community can be proud of as a place to live, work and play,” Stuard wrote in his application.
Stuard highlighted transportation, economic development and creating partnerships as his three highest priorities the council needs to address.
Stuard also wants to get more residents involved with council processes.
“One of the big things that I think is very important is to get the public more involved in our process,” he said. “We have public comment every meeting, we have public hearings, and very seldom do we have people attend those. We’ve got to change that.”
After executive session, Deputy Mayor Kathy Hayden and councilmembers Curt Brown, Barbara Bitetto, Cindi Hochstatter and Patrick Reed voted to appoint Stuard. Councilmember Melony Pederson voted to appoint Ferreria-Allah.
(Stuard) was the highest qualified as far as his financial background and his experience on the council and on commission. He had the most experience of all of the candidates, I thought, although they all did a great job. It was an incredibly tough decision to make.
Kathy Hayden, Sumner City Council deputy mayor
“(Stuard) was the highest qualified as far as his financial background and his experience on the council and on commission,” Hayden said. “He had the most experience of all of the candidates, I thought, although they all did a great job. It was an incredibly tough decision to make.”
Stuard will be sworn in to city council at the next regular meeting on Monday (March 19). His term will end in 2019. He is unsure whether he’ll run again, but is looking forward to serving the citizens of Sumner.
“I really love this town,” he said.