Tom Ferrell.

Tom Ferrell.

Former Sequim mayor announces resignation from council

Ferrell said work obligations overseas limit his time

SEQUIM — Tom Ferrell, Sequim City Council member and former mayor, has announced he plans to resign by the end of March.

Ferrell said at last Monday’s Sequim council meeting that his last day will be March 31.

“Between now and then, whatever resources you can use from me, let me know,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure.”

In a phone interview, Ferrell said the announcement was a result of a lot of introspection dating back to before the November general election when he ran unopposed for reelection.

“With the new council (members), it’s a perfect time to move along,” he said.

“I was reluctant to run again, but a lot of people asked me to run. On reflection, I should have been more realistic.”

State law requires Ferrell’s seat be filled within 90 days after a resignation, or county commissioners will make a decision for the city on appointing a new council member. City officials said no plans had been made to replace him as yet.

Ferrell and his wife moved to Sequim in 2016. He served on the Sequim Planning Commission from March 2018 through December 2019. He sought a vacant council seat in 2018 that went to former council member and mayor William Armacost.

Ferrell and Armacost both ran unopposed that November.

Ferrell was a U.S. Air Force B-52 flight officer and later an Air Force Reservist for 30 years. He owned an aerospace research company in San Diego and served as the CEO of World Trade Center Sacramento, economic development director for the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and the director for quality management for Aerojet Rocket Company.

He also owned a leadership training company and worked as an adjunct professor teaching strategic management.

Ferrell said Monday he had to take a lot of time off last year for business travel, but his availability was shrinking drastically due to business overseas.

He continues to teach executive leadership for corporations overseas and by Zoom.

“I don’t know what retirement means,” Ferrell said.

The decision to resign, he said, was also driven by a feeling that other council members have different priorities than him, such as economic versus social goals.

“The No. 1 priority is to build a better and better city for attractiveness,” he said. “When you look at it through that perspective, you increase the tax base, so they can afford other tax programs.”

Ferrell said the city should try to build its assets, increase its tax base and decrease its dependency on federal funding.

He said through that effort, it’d help stop any homeless issues but admitted “it’s not an easy puzzle.”

Ferrell said the city council should and will continue to work on bringing affordable housing to Sequim.

“Despite the efforts we make, it’s still going to be a product of a successful city,” he said.

“They will move that forward, but it’s always an event you can’t time it. Economic development is very difficult to do.”

Council

Ferrell came onto the council when community concerns began to rise over the application process for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic, now known as the Healing Clinic. It opened in July 2022 after going through a hearing examiner process and court rulings.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Armacost was voted mayor by fellow council members in January 2020. He came into local and national focus at multiple points during his tenure, mostly after he encouraged listeners to listen to a video about the unfounded conspiracy theory known as QAnon during the “Coffee With the Mayor” broadcast on KSQM 91.5 FM on Aug. 27, 2020. (Armacost later told CNN in late January 2021 that he never endorsed or said he supported it.)

Ferrell, along with current mayor Brandon Janisse, were the lone council members to vote against calling for the resignation of former City Manager Charlie Bush on Jan. 11, 2021.

Reasons for his resignation were never publicly stated as it was discussed in executive session, but a city press release later said it was due to “philosophical differences.”

Ferrell, deputy mayor at the time, said in an interview then that while he didn’t like that vote, he respected it, although he didn’t see any issues with Bush’s performance, particularly during the pandemic.

Bush’s resignation and COVID-19 regulations became major talking points for council candidates in the 2021 general election. Three of the four who voted for Bush’s resignation were voted out of office.

Ferrell was voted by council members over Armacost in January 2022, with him saying why he wanted to be mayor: “No politics, use your common sense and no political games; I’ve had enough of it.”

He opted not to run for mayor in January.

In his tenure, Ferrell said he’s proud that the council has helped him stabilize the city the last two years.

“We went through craziness with COVID as the previous council, but it calmed down,” he said. “We got back down on a serious road. I’m really thankful to council for last two years.”

Ferrell said he is also proud that the City of Sequim feels dynamic.

“We need to take advantage of that,” he said. “My goal is to have it attractive enough to bring in something like an 80-person software company off (U.S. Highway) 101 to become established in the city for the long run.”

After his time on the council ends, Ferrell said he plans to live in the city, visit family in Bothell, continue golfing and running, and work part-time.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at matthew.nash@sequimgazette.com.

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