The list of 55 has been narrowed down to eight.
That’s how many people the Tacoma City Council will interview at its study session Tuesday to fill the vacant seat of former Councilwoman Victoria Woodards, who resigned last month to run for mayor. Later that night at its regular meeting, the council will vote to appoint someone to the spot. That person will serve through the end of 2017, and would have to run for election in November to serve a full term.
The Government Performance and Finance Committee, made up of four council members, spent two hours on Wednesday working through the list, whittling 55 candidates for at-large position 6 down to 20 semifinalists and then finally, to the eight finalists who will get live interviews in front of the council.
The finalists are:
▪ Laura Rodriguez, a program manager at Providence Health & Services who has worked extensively on Tacoma’s East Side and was a founder of Tacoma’s first charter high school.
▪ Angela Jossy, a property manager and vice chair of the Metro Parks Tacoma Culture and Heritage Advisory Council.
▪ Lillian Hunter, the director of alternative learning for Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction and a Bates Technical College trustee.
▪ Lauren Walker, a former two-term City Council member and executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Washington.
▪ Katherine Baird, an economics professor at University of Washington Tacoma and former member of the Pierce County Charter Review Commission.
▪ Shalisa Hayes, a member appeals supervisor at Regence BlueShield and the head of a foundation dedicated to violence prevention, formed in memory of her slain son.
▪ Eric Hahn, a vice president at South Tacoma manufacturer General Plastics and chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Workforce Development Council.
▪ Meredith Neal, an urban planner and project manager for a Tacoma remodeling company and a member of the planning commission.
The committee, which includes Councilmen Joe Lonergan, Robert Thoms, Anders Ibsen and Marty Campbell, said they were looking for more female representation on the council, and ethnic and geographic diversity. They also were seeking diversity of experience, the committee members said. Education and a history of working, volunteering and being active in Tacoma and Pierce County civic life made for high scores.
“The mayor has asked for three to five names for the interview process on Tuesday,” Lonergan, the chair of the committee, said at the beginning of the meeting. “I suspect there might be more than that.”
Council members remarked last week on the sheer number of applications, and offered differing views on what they thought the right candidate’s goals should be: Some felt strongly the applicant should abstain from running for a full term in November, others disagreed. Campbell said it was the most applications they’d received in his time as a council member during any call to appoint someone to a council seat.