Mayor gone. Two (maybe three) council seats open. What's next?
(This story was revised to include a clarification of the scenario of what happens if Councilor Sean Garland runs for Sherwood mayor.)
The resignation of a Sherwood City Council member and the mayor, along with the recall of two city councilors, has set up — or will soon set up — a series of appointments and elections that could easily require a flow chart to keep everything straight.
At this point some of it is speculation but some of it is lining up to create a perfect storm that would mean filling lots of open seats.
The bottom line is: there will be two elections coming soon, one in November to elect a new council member, the other in March to elect a mayor and two (or possibly three) city council members.
This whole series of events was put into motion on July 1, when Councilor Dan King resigned to move out of the city limits.
In September, a group of Sherwood residents began a campaign to collect signatures to hold an election to recall Mayor Krisanna Clark-Endicott, Councilor Jennifer Harris and Councilor Sally Robinson.
Enough signatures were gathered to hold that recall vote for the three, based largely on their support of an out-of-town health and fitness provider that had its eye on taking over services currently provided by the Sherwood YMCA.
Clark-Endicott resigned on Oct. 2 to move to Redmond with her two children and be with her new husband, Redmond Mayor George Endicott. It was the same day she was required to either send in a so-called statement of justification explaining her actions and face the recall or resign.
That left Harris and Robinson to face the Oct. 17 election, where they were recalled with 71.46 percent and 75.06 percent of voters, respectively, approving their removal.
But even before the election, the council appointed Russell Griffin, a former member of the Sherwood Planning Commission, to replace King until Nov. 7, when voters will elect a permanent council member to that seat.
Meanwhile, Harris submitted a letter of resignation last Thursday morning, saying she was stepping down even before the election is finalized.
"I am ready to move on and I'd like to get started on that process sooner rather than later," Harris wrote in the brief letter sent to City Manager Joe Gall. "Thank you for all the help, advice, and support that city staff has provided me throughout my years in council. My admiration for the work you all do is immeasurable."
A little confused about what happens next? Many are. Here's the lowdown:
n Official results of the recall election must be certified by Nov. 6. The city is waiting for those results from the Washington County Elections Division, Gall said. As soon as that occurs, Robinson will be off the council, meaning she won't make it to the council's next meeting on Nov. 7.
"We are still waiting for election results," Gall said. "The next update, according to the county, is Nov. 1."
Gall said the council likely will declare a vacancy for the Robinson and Harris positions during the Nov. 7 meeting, whereupon the city would begin accepting applications for those interested in serving in interim council positions until the March 13 election.
n The Nov. 7 election: This is to fill Councilor King's seat, which expires Dec. 31, 2020. Those running include Griffin, Renee Brouse, Michael Conn, Burt "Moonbeam" Mooney and Doug Scout.
If Griffin wins, he simply stays in his seat. However, if he loses, he'll only stay in office until the county officially certifies the results, which likely would allow him to remain on board only until early December, according to Gall.
n The race for mayor and two (or possibly three) open city council seats: The winner of the March 13 mayor's race will serve the remainder of Clark-Endicott's term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2018. In the meantime, the council will appoint an interim mayor, most likely sometime in November, Gall said.
So far, current Councilor Sean Garland has submitted an application for the temporary mayoral slot. So did Lee Weislogel, a former long-time city council member and member of Sherwood Main Street.
The city is accepting applications for the position until 5 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 27.
The rub here is this: If Garland is selected as interim mayor, he must relinquish his current council seat, Gall said. However, he would not have to leave his council seat, which expires at the end of 2020, if he ran for mayor in the March election and lost,
What further muddies the waters is that if Garland is appointed mayor, there will be a third council seat open in that March election, Gall said. That would likely mean that the top vote-getters would win the seats formerly held by Robinson and Harris while a separate race for Garland's seat would be held at the same time.
Meanwhile, an unusual occurrence could transpire as well.
Gall said if Garland wins the mayor's race in March 2018 and decides to run for re-election, he'd face another mayoral election in November 2018.
"So he could face the voters twice in 2018," Gall pointed out.
So how is Gall handling the most resignations he's seen in such a short time period during his more than five-year tenure and the first successful council recall in recent Sherwood history?
"We're going through a transition period right now. I'd say the business of local government continues," Gall said. "It's been unusual, but we're all doing fine I think."