A few days after City Councilor Susie Stevens sent a letter to fellow Wilsonville representatives and staff informing them that she will resign after six years as an elected official, the council established the process for determining her replacement at a meeting Monday, June 3.
Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp said at the meeting that according to City code, Stevens' replacement must garner a majority approval from the council to be appointed.
And, during the meeting, the council agreed that Knapp and Council President Kristin Akervall will sift through applications and narrow the list down to a manageable number. After that, the council will interview the remaining applicants and decide Stevens' successor in a public setting. Part of Knapp's rationale for he and Akervall winnowing down the initial candidates is that a quorum has to be established if three councilors congregate and therefore it has to be open to the public.
"I think it would be reasonable if we have a lot of applicants that you (Knapp) and council president narrow it down to the top four," Wilsonville Councilor Charlotte Lehan said.
Wilsonville Council President Ben West expressed a slightly different point of view, though he agreed to the parameters.
"I'd like to be as public as possible. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of applications. Maybe you also take some of that burden and spread it out between the whole council," West said. "But when we get down to 10 or so, making that as public as possible I think the citizens of Wilsonville would really appreciate that and make it as transparent as possible."
Prior to the interviews, the City will make the application period open for 30 days, planning to post the notice sometime in June and ultimately hopes to hold the public meeting where they would decide among candidates in late August.
"It's going to be hard to move it faster. I think there will be things that will slow us down," Knapp said.
Knapp and Akervall will determine the questions that will go on the application. And based on Wilsonville City Manager Bryan Cosgrove's suggestion, they will also establish minimum criteria that prospective councilors must meet in order to be appointed.
Cosgrove told the Spokesman that availability to put in the work required to be a councilor will likely be a major factor in the decision-making process.
"That's what the gist is what the mayor and council is going to figure out is who has the time. It's more than two meetings a month. It's a lot of information, projects outside committees. It's a fairly substantial commitment of time," Cosgrove said.
One candidate they will likely consider is John Budiao, who finished third by a narrow margin to Councilors Ben West and Charlotte Lehan during the 2018 election. During the public testimony of the meeting, Budiao explained to the council why he would make a worthy replacement.
Exclusion policy could be adopted
Wilsonville City Attorney Barbara Jacobson also announced during the meeting that the City will adopt a Clackamas County policy that would allow the police department to exclude people from all City facilities — which includes parks, City Hall, the library and the bus system.
Jacobson said a resolution was not required to enter into the program but the council did informally agree to the proposal at the meeting.
Cosgrove said the rule will generally be reserved for those who endanger others, damage City property or commit repeat offenses.
"It is mostly meant to protect public safely," Cosgrove said. "You could imagine someone doing something in a city facility that would expose others to things we don't want them to be exposed to."
Jacobson said the measure was in part inspired by the shooting that took place in Memorial Parkin 2018.
"That was what made us start thinking about, we need to get people on our properties for the purpose of making trouble out of there faster," Jacobson said.
Jacobson also said someone who commits an egregious offense could also be banned even if they are not a repeat offender and that bans will typically be in place for a period of time rather than a lifetime ban.
"It really is for the worst examples you can think of. If someone stabs someone in a public park we don't want them back ever," Cosgrove said.
Those who are hit with the ban are entitled to a hearing from a Clackamas County hearing officer while Jacobson said violating the exclusionary agreement would be the equivalent of trespassing.