PORT ANGELES — A candidate filing week with dozens of available elected positions begins Monday for the Nov. 5 general election.
They include a majority of City Council seats in Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks that are being vacated by incumbents who are not running for re-election, leaving a wide-open field for the ballot.
With 68 seats up for grabs, there’s no shortage of opportunities for seekers of elective office.
Positions include 15 one-year positions on the countywide Charter Review Commission, which meets every five years to review government ordinances and recommend changes to voters. One led to the only elected Department of Community Development director position in the nation.
Information on open positions, voter registration and filing for candidacy is at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-ElectionInfo.
In-person filing begins at 8 a.m. Monday and ends at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
It can be accomplished online from 9 a.m. Monday to 4 p.m. Friday.
On the ballot are positions on three city councils, five school boards, six fire district commissions, two park and recreation district boards, and two water district boards of commissioners.
A primary is Aug. 6 for races with three or more candidates.
There is no primary for charter review commission candidates.
Democratic Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias of Sequim District 1 and West End-Port Angeles District 3 Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Connie Beauvais said last week they will run for re-election.
Running for unexpired one-year terms are Clallam County Superior Court Judges Brent Basden and Lauren Erickson, who were appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee. Erickson replaced Erik Rohrer and Basden replaced Chris Melly.
Port Angeles Mayor and City Council member Sissi Bruch and council members Michael Merideth and Cherie Kidd are not seeking re-election. Kidd is limited by city ordinance to three four-year terms.
In January, when three new council members are sworn in, no one on the seven-person panel will have served a full term.
Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Jim Moran, Mike French and Deputy Mayor Kate Dexter were elected to their first terms in 2017.
For Merideth, elected to his first term in 2015, four years was enough, he said.
He has a full-time job as a log-truck driver and school-age children he wants to spend more time with, he said.
He said he can’t do that when attending nighttime council and committee meetings and work sessions.
“You just can’t work the hours I work and then go in there and devote the correct amount of time to do that,” he said.
Council members who aren’t the mayor or deputy mayor received $550 monthly, while the mayor gets $650 and the deputy mayor $600.
“It was an eye-opening experience, and if someone has the time to devote to it, I’d say, give it a shot,” Merideth said.
Bruch said she “took a massive pay cut” when she resigned her senior planner position with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe a year ago.
Now, Bruch said, she works on council business full time reviewing City Council packets, attending meetings and answering constituents’ emails.
“I feel like I’ve done my duty to my community,” Bruch said.
“I want to get my life back, find another job, find another adventure.
“I’m excited about not running because we will get new voices.”
City staff salaries go up on a regular basis while the City Council pay has remained the same, she said.
“If we don’t give the council a raise, we’ll be stuck with people who can only truly afford to do this, and that not right,” Bruch said.
Juanita Weissenfels, who won election to the Forks City Council in 2011 without opposition, said she is running for re-election.
Forks City Council members Bill Brager and Jon Preston said last week they are not seeking another term.
Preston, an Olympic National Park information specialist, said he is retiring in September and may move out of the area.
Brager said serving on the council was his civic duty.
“Anyone that’s got anything to offer should take their turn, and that’s what I did,” he said.
“We need to have more candidates stepping forward who have to be willing to take your turn.”
On the Sequim City Council, William Armacost, appointed to the council in July, is seeking a full four-year term and has already filed his candidacy with the state Secretary of State’s Office, he said.
“It’s an opportunity to give back,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Candace Pratt and council member Jennifer States did not return calls and emails for comment last week.
Pratt told the Sequim Gazette that she is not seeking re-election.
Lake said last week he is not seeking re-election.
“It’s a lot of work,” Lake said.
“One of the reasons I ran was that I wanted emergency preparedness to be better in Sequim, and they’ve done that.”
Here’s a list of remaining positions up for election and the incumbents now filling them.
• Hospital commissions: Forks-area Hospital District 1, commissioner, Daisy Anderson, and Clallam County Hospital District 2 — Olympic Medical Center commissioners John E. Beitzel, Jean C. Hordyk and Thom Hightower.
• School Boards: Port Angeles School Board, Joshua Jones, Sandy Long and William Kindler; Crescent School Board, Trisha Haggerty, Susan Hopper and Dara Peppard; Sequim School Board, Robin Henrickson, Jim Stoffer and Heather Short; Cape Flattery School Board, Gergory Colfax, LeAnne Fletcher, Donald R. Baker and Tracey Rascon; Quillayute Valley School Board, Val James Giles, Bill Rohde and Mike Reaves.
• Fire district commissions: Forks-area Fire District 1, Neris Biciunas and Giancarlo Buonpane; Port Angeles-area Fire District 2 (does not include city of Port Angeles), Richard Ruud; Sequim-area Fire District 3, James D. Barnfather; Joyce-area Fire District 4, Sam Nugent, Terry Barnett and Christopher J. Christie; Clallam Bay-area Fire District 5, Karin J. Ashton and Danny G. Ahrens; Quillayute Prairie-area Fire District 6, Robert (Chip) Keen.
• Park and recreation district commissioners: District 1 (Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center), Ray Henninger, Melinda Griffith, Alan Mundy and Jan. L Richardson; Quillayute Park and Recreation District, David Gedlund, Nedra Reed and Gordon Gibbls.
• Water district commissioners: Black Diamond (Port Angeles), Steve Zenovic; SunLand (Sequim), Jim Larison.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].