2006 City Council appointment becomes campaign issue for candidates in 2007

PORT ANGELES – The March 2006 appointment of defeated City Councilman Richard Headrick to fill a council vacancy was a topic of debate between City Council incumbent Grant Munro and challenger Cherie Kidd on Tuesday.

The debate between the candidates for Position 7 was hosted by the Port Angeles Business Association as part of the business group’s ongoing candidate debate series.

Munro, a retired Rayonier Inc. executive, who is seeking a second term on the council, said that the appointment was made after interviewing the applicants.

Kidd – a Port Angeles planning commissioner, and a member of both the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Business Association – ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2003 against the late City Councilman Jack Pittis, and in 2005 against City Councilman Larry Williams.

She also applied for the March 2006 appointment.

She said the council did not interview the applicants.

Kidd said that, during a March 7 City Council meeting, Munro supported Headrick to replace late City Councilman Jack Pittis, and that this effectively overturned the November 2005 election.

Munro replied that the council was “in a tough spot” after Pittis’ death, but he said that the council members didn’t overturn the election.

In that election, newcomer Betsy Wharton, a planning commissioner, defeated Headrick, an incumbent, by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.

Pittis died suddenly from heart complications following a Feb. 2 car wreck in Kitsap County.

The council appointed Headrick to fill the vacancy.

The vote was 4-2, with former council member Lauren Erickson and Wharton voting “no.”

It followed an executive session that began at 10 p.m. and lasted about an hour.

Headrick is not running for election this November, which is what he declared he would do following his appointment.

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