By JEREMY SCHWARTZ
Peninsula Daily News
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Gase was appointed on a 6-0 vote Tuesday night following a special 5 p.m. meeting during which council members interviewed Gase and the two other applicants — Peter Ripley, an online newsletter publisher and advocate for those with disabilities, and Robert Sommers, an employee at Swain's General Store.
Council members thanked each of the three applicants for applying — and noted that if they had appointed Ripley, who is running against another candidate for Mania's Council Position 2 in the Nov. 5 election, the council would, in effect, be choosing sides.
"Peter is in a contested race, and I cannot show preference by making one an incumbent," Mayor Cherie Kidd said.
Ripley is running against Lee Whetham, a Port Angeles plumber who has held multiple local union leadership positions.
Gase is also a candidate for the City Council this fall, but he is running unopposed for the four-year seat currently held by Brooke Nelson, who is not seeking re-election. Both Gase and Nelson work at Coldwell Banker Uptown Realty in Port Angeles.
Gase will serve in Council Position 2 until Nov. 26, when the election results are certified and either Ripley or Whetham take the seat.
During the interviews, council members asked the applicants the same six questions, which included what the applicants thought were the most pressing issues facing the city, what experience the applicants had with budgeting and what vision for the city the applicants would like to share with both city employees and residents.
Gase is a former president of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce. Council members said he had the best grasp of city issues and that his regular attendance at council meetings and budget workshops over the past months also qualified him to fill the temporary position.
"His comprehensive and thorough understanding of our issues is readily apparent," Councilman Patrick Downie said.
Mania resigned from the council on Aug. 3.