Politics & Government

Pierce County Council picks GOP leaders in switch from 2012, 2013

The Pierce County Council elected Dan Roach as its chairman Tuesday as it made a switch to three Republican officers in 2014 after having a bipartisan leadership group in 2012 and 2013.

As chairman, Roach will set the agenda for the council’s meetings and preside at them.

Roach, R-Bonney Lake, said the council this year will address the county jail’s budget problems, mental health services and the shoreline master program update.

“I think there’s a lot of big issues we’ll be dealing with,” he said.

Roach, 41, is in the fourth and final year of his first term on the council. He said he plans to run for re-election this year and continue to represent East Pierce County.

Before his election to the council in 2010, Roach served 10 years as a state representative from the 31st District.

The council Tuesday also selected Stan Flemming, R-Gig Harbor, as vice chairman. Past Chairwoman Joyce McDonald, R-Puyallup, was chosen as executive pro tem.

Five of the seven council members are Republicans.

Tacoma Democrat Rick Talbert was vice chairman for the past two years with McDonald as chairwoman. Flemming was executive pro tem for the past year.

McDonald did not seek another year as chairwoman, saying it was time to let someone else take the lead.

The council’s selection of Talbert two years ago marked the first time it had chosen a Democrat as vice chairman since 2008.

When asked about the council’s election of three Republican officers, Roach said: “I’m fine with it. I think it’s a very strong team.”

Talbert cast the only no vote against Roach and McDonald.

“I just wasn’t happy with the process,” Talbert said. “I don’t believe that these decisions should be presented as a done deal, and that’s how they came forth.”

Prior to the meeting, Talbert said he thought he would be considered for the chairman job or at least stay as vice chairman.

“I think having balance has been good for the council the last two years,” Talbert said in an interview. “But I’m hopeful that we will keep politics out of our daily business as much as possible.”

McDonald said it was her idea for Talbert to serve as vice chairman two years ago. But she doesn’t believe moving away from a bipartisan group of officers will hurt the council.

“I think the council is very bipartisan in general,” McDonald said. “I don’t think that will hinder the council moving forward at all.”