Northwest NEWS

November 9, 1998

Local News

Councilmember questions if two offices are too much

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   BOTHELL--A Bothell City Councilmember wants to discuss whether it's appropriate to hold two elected offices at once after one of his colleagues appears to have won a bid for the state legislature.
   Councilwoman Jeanne Edwards was leading Rep. Mike Sherstad (R-Kirkland) by 1,567 votes for his 1st District house seat as of last Friday night. Edwards has indicated she will retain her council seat as well as serve as a state legislator beginning next January.
   While Bothell's attorneys have said that it's okay to do so, Councilman Mike Noblet wants to discuss it. "It's nothing, in my mind, in terms of a move to oust Councilmember Edwards. It's purely a discussion of the issue," said Noblet.
   "The public would ask the question, are they being fully served with the real time commitments" of the Legislature, he said. "In a legislative session, your master is Olympia."
   Edwards doesn't believe it's an issue. "It's still my office and I intend to hold it," she said.
   Bothell's city attorney was consulted on the issue last August.
   "An opinion for the City Council says it's legal to hold two offices," said Interim City Manager Mike Caldwell.
   "If I find I'm so busy in Olympia I can't hold up my part of the City Council, I'll resign. But there's no reason to believe I can't do both," Edwards said.
   At the behest of Noblet, Bothell's council will also discuss whether it's appropriate for a staff member to be on a board that asks for money and policy decisions from the council, and if there's a conflict of interest when a councilmember has a spouse who's on one of the city's boards. A parks department staffer is also a member of the Greater Bothell Association, and Mayor Debbie Treen's husband, Kent, is a member of the Parks Board.
   Caldwell says he's scheduled the subjects for discussion Dec. 14.