By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Gase was appointed to the Position 2 seat on a 6-0 vote Tuesday following a special
5 p.m. meeting at which council members interviewed Gase and the two other applicants: Peter Ripley, an online newsletter publisher and advocate for the disabled who is a candidate in the November council election, and Robert Sommers, a Swain's General Store employee.
Gase has no opposition on the Nov. 5 general election ballot for Position 4, the four-year seat held by Brooke Nelson, who is not seeking re-election.
Gase was sworn in by City Clerk Janessa Hurd while standing before the council after its members appointed him.
Before the vote, they thanked each of the three applicants for applying.
They said that if they had appointed Ripley, who is running against another candidate for Mania's Position 2 in the Nov. 5 election, the council would, in effect, be taking 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 several local union leadership positions.
Mania resigned from the council Aug. 3.
Both Gase and Nelson work at Coldwell Banker Uptown Realty in Port Angeles.
Gase will serve in Position 2 until Nov. 26, when the election results are certified and either Ripley or Whetham takes the seat.
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.
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 said his vision for the city is one where transparency in the city's business is paramount, which in turn would lead to greater trust between both individual City Council members and the residents they serve.
“If we can trust each other and believe we're all coming from different perspectives and making decisions that are best for the city,” Gase said, “I believe we'll be a better group because of it.”
Ripley told council members he envisions good economic growth, more jobs and successful businesses for the city.
“If we're willing to work with each other, we could iron out these difficulties that we face,” he said.
Sommers said city leaders need to choose a goal to move toward and make every city employee aware that their specific job, however minor it might seem, is a step forward.
“That's what I would like to see,” Sommers said, “that everybody gets to see they're part of the big picture, that their little dot of paint is important.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.