Northwest NEWS

January 10, 2000

Front Page

City Council elects new mayor, deputy mayor

Randy Ransom & Marsha Engel

Mayor Randy Ransom and Deputy Mayor Marsha Engel.
Staff photo by Marshall Haley.

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   Woodinville's leadership underwent a minor shakeup on Monday, Jan. 3, as the City Council chose a new mayor, Randy Ransom, and deputy mayor, Marsha Engel. Former mayor Don Brocha and deputy mayor Scott Hageman retain their elected positions on the Council.

   As the only nominee for mayor, first-term councilmember Ransom received unanimous acceptance. He was nominated by former mayor Bob Miller. Engel, a councilmember since the city formed in 1993, was elected deputy mayor by a 4-3 margin over incumbent Scott Hageman. Ransom nominated Engel, who was also supported in the "aye" or "no" voting by Barbara Solberg and Miller. Hageman was supported by Carol Bogue and Brocha.

   "I want to give some well-deserved kudos to Don," said Engel. "He has been an outstanding mayor. He is a good concensus builder and a fair, effective facilitator of discussions at our meetings."

   "We have a very good Council that works well together; we have good discussions, and I don't plan to change any of that," said Ransom. "This is a collaborative effort, and I believe my job as mayor is to foster that--to help our discussions reach an amiable concensus agreement, to find the best solutions we can to the issues affecting Woodinville."

   "I-695 is the major issue all municipalities must deal with this year," Ransom responded to a question about the most pressing challenges the city faces. "Our response partly depends on the court challenges [to I-695] and what the legislature and Gov. Locke do. We have already adjusted our budget, and there will be ongoing adjustments.

   "The new city hall will mean a lot of transitioning from old to new accomodations, and will include developing a civic center [on the Sorenson property]."

   The new mayor said he hopes Woodinville citizens become actively involved in this year's public hearings for developing plans for their civic center.

   The election was over by 7:08 p.m., practically before all spectators were seated. By then, Hageman, Solberg, and Engel had been sworn in for another four-year term on the council, by King County Superior Court Judge Anne Ellington. During the post-election discussion of City Council committee assignments, Solberg relinquished her position as liaison to the Planning Commission and asked that the WIRA be officially added to the committee list, since she already serves on that newly-formed committee.

   Brocha relinquished his position on the Eastside Transportation Program (ETP) committee, saying the demands of a new job he is starting would conflict with the time demands of that committee. He volunteered to fill the Planning Commission liaison spot. Engel initially volunteered for Brocha's vacated ETP spot, but the fulltime working teacher surrendered it when Brocha mentioned it met on Friday afternoons. Bogue then volunteered to take the ETP spot. Otherwise, all councilmembers retained their positions on the other ten committees.

   Later in the meeting, City Manager Pete Rose congratulated city staffer Marie Stake for her role in studying Y2K issues, participating in several regional workshops on the subject, and bringing the city up to speed on necessary emergency preparations.

   "Marie's emergency management work was the most extraordinary effort, in a concentrated manner, by a staff member I think I've ever seen," said Rose. "Marie started out at the beginning of last year dipping her toe in emergency management. Now, as they say in government work, 'she are one.'"

   Permit Director Dean McKee presented the Council with the pros and cons of hiring three full-time employees for his department, rather than continuing to pay contractors. McKee said in the current boom, assigning a single staff member to a particular project gives customers more consistent, reliable service and continuity, rather than having one contractor leave in the middle of a large project, for example, requiring a new contract staffer to get up to speed on that project. He said having three more full-time staff would also free existing staff from multi-tasking that overloads their normal assignments.

   When Mayor Ransom said he questioned the wisdom of laying off such new hires if an economic downturn came, McKee assured council that construction professionals understand that nature of the industry.