First council meeting of the year brings few changes

Elaine Cook, Gary Harris, Les Rubstello and

The New Year hardly started out ‘new’ in the city of Woodinville, with four returning councilmembers taking their oaths of office Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Al Taylor, Les Rubstello, Elaine Cook and Gary Harris vowed to continue their service to the community at the first council meeting of the year.

Each of these public servants was re-elected to their seats on council during the Nov. 5 general election. Rubstello and Cook ran unopposed to regain Position 2 and 4.

The elections for Position 6 and 7 were incredibly close races. Taylor defeated Nicholas Duchastel by only 23 votes. Harris beat Paul Hagen with a 37-vote difference.

Nearly half of registered Woodinville voters participated in the general election, according to the certified results.

Every two years the council has its own election for the positions of mayor and deputy mayor. Cook served most recently as mayor; Harris was elected to be deputy mayor.

Rubstello nominated Cook to continue her role as mayor of Woodinville. Susan Bounty-Sanders nominated herself for the position. Cook was ultimately reelected in a 5-1 vote.

“I would like to thank my council for their support and trust,” Cook said after the vote.

Rachel Best-Campbell nominated Harris to continue as deputy mayor. Taylor nominated Best-Campbell, although she was not interested in the position. Again, Bounty-Sanders nominated and voted for herself for the role.

Harris was re-elected in another 5-1 vote by council.

The council is still seeking candidates for a vacancy in Position 1. The seat was previously filled by Paula Waters, who resigned in November.

Waters was featured in a special presentation for her service to the City during the regular meeting. Former Parks & Recreation and Public Spaces Commissioner Sean Dixey was also honored.

Waters served on the planning commission from 2009-13 as a member, vice-chair and chair. Cook said she kept the commission focused and on-time while setting examples for others with graciousness and professionalism.

“She was the consummate civil servant. Her dedication to the City and the community will be sorely missed,” Cook said. “Paula and the council had the same vision; a beautiful and prosperous city.”

Waters was elected to the council in 2013. Cook said her work was essential in creating the Civic Campus, renovating DeYoung Park, advocating for the environment and adding public art around the city.

Dixey was honored for his leadership and contributions to multiple commissions. He was appointed to the Parks & Recreation Commission in 2016 and reappointed in 2018. He served as chair for nearly one year

He was then appointed to the Public Spaces Commission, where he served until his term expired in December. Cook said Dixey served as chair through the commission’s inception.

“He was thoughtful and extremely intelligent. He was a phenomenal member of the commission,” she said. “I appreciated listening to him chair and create consensus on the commission, and I will be personally sad to see him leave."

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