January 12, 1998
Andrew Walgamott/staff photos
Former Woodinville mayor Bob Miller (l.) moves out of the center seat on the City Council. The chair is now occupied by Mayor Don Brocha (m.) who the council unanimously elected to the post January 5. The new deputy mayor, Scott Hageman, appears at right.
by Andrew Walgamott
WOODINVILLE--Woodinville's new mayor pledges to "do more" in the next two years. Mayor Don Brocha, who was elected by the City Council to the mainly symbolic post at the January 5 meeting, said he would make efforts to improve communications between the city council, city staff and the citizens, by meeting residents at coffee shops and using the newspaper to explain the city's actions.
The first meeting of the year was also a busy one as other new leadership joined the City of Woodinville. Councilman Scott Hageman is now deputy mayor. The recently-elected Randy Ransom and Carol Bogue were sworn into office by Judge Anne Ellington of the Washington State Court of Appeals, promising that they would "faithfully and impartially perform the duties of the Office of City Councilmember," supporting federal, state and city laws. Ellington also swore former mayor Bob Miller and Brocha (pronounced Bro-shay) back into office after they won unopposed elections in November. And the council took time to recognize former councilmembers Lucy DeYoung and Art Saulness for their years on the council.
Ransom nominates Brocha
After Boy Scout Troop 655 led a standing-room-only crowd in council chambers in the Flag Salute and Valerie Hackett, a Woodinville High School junior, sang the national anthem, City Clerk Sandra Steffler opened the mayor's post for nominations. New councilmembers took part in forging city leadership's new look.
Councilman Ransom, in his first official action, promptly nominated Brocha for mayor. Councilman Miller nominated Hageman who "respectfully declined." Councilwoman Barbara Solberg then nominated Miller, who in December had said that he wanted to be mayor again. But Miller also "respectfully declined," later saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family and job.There were no further nominations, leaving only one candidate for mayor, Brocha.
Brocha asked for a moment to comment on why he wanted to be mayor. While Brocha said that the mayor's only real duty was to run meetings and be the city's representative at functions, he also pledged to "do more." "The mayor needs to be more visible and be more accessible to citizens. As mayor, I will set aside one morning a week to be available for anyone who wants to talk about any concerns they have about the city," Brocha said. "I also think the mayor needs to be a conduit from the city to the citizens and from the citizens back to the city," the 46-year-old software engineer said.
He proposed a weekly forum in theWoodinville Weekly where the city could explain to the residents its conclusions and show the "thought processes and trade-offs [involved] so they can see why we're doing what we're doing." "I also think that the mayor needs to work with each councilmember individually to make sure that we can work together as a team." "All of these are things I would like to accomplish. None of it's magic, just communications," Brocha said.
Clerk Steffler called for a vote and Brocha was unanimously elected mayor, 6-0. Councilwoman Marsha Engel was absent, suffering from back injuries. Brocha is Woodinville's third mayor following DeYoung and Miller. On the council since November, 1992, Brocha serves as mayor until Dec. 31, 1999. Later, Miller said it would be an "interesting" two years, adding that he hoped Brocha would follow through with his commitments. Brocha's first action as mayor was to open nominations for Deputy Mayor, a position he'd occupied under Miller for the past two years. Councilwoman Bogue, in her first official action, nominated Councilman Hageman for the post. There were no other nominations. Hageman was voted in unanimously. To facilitate council cooperation in 1998, the council, along with City Manager Roy Rainey and a consultant, held a team-building/city business retreat last Saturday.
DeYoung, Saulness honored
The council also took time to honor DeYoung and Saulness, both of whom have served on the council since 1992. Miller presented DeYoung with a certificate of appreciation that recognized her work on the city's interim council, her municipal finance expertise, and time spent on the Eastside Transportation Partnership and Sammamish Watershed Forum. DeYoung, voice breaking at times, read from a prepared statement on the state of the city past, present and future, and her own plans.
"Woodinville is a very successful new city, and I am proud to have been a part of that. We have not raised the city's share of the property tax from the day we incorporated almost six years ago, and very few cities can make that claim. We have increased services. The Jerry Wilmot Park will become a reality this year. We have and are developing neighborhood parks and trails. We have an A+ bond rating which is very difficult for a new city to obtain. We have a Fourth of July celebration for over 20,000 people. We have a very low crime rate. The city is not perfect, but for any city, and especially a new city, it is pretty darn good," DeYoung said. She said her one disappointment in her five years on the council was not purchasing the Sorenson complex, what she termed "an integral part of saving the feel of Woodinville." DeYoung's next challenge is serving on the Public Stadium Authority board. Ransom, who beat Richard Reed in November, takes over DeYoung's post.
Saulness, a CPA, was also recognized for his years on the council and finance committee. Saulness spoke briefly, thanking city staff and wishing the new city councilmembers a good term. Bogue, who ran against Don Rongholt, replaces Saulness. Elsewhere in the region, Cottage Lake's Louise Miller was sworn in as King County Council Chair, Ron Sims was sworn in as King County Executive, Monroe's Dave Somers and Bothell's Barbara Cothern took their seats on the Snohomish County Council and Debbie Treen was voted Bothell's new mayor.