The new year already looks very different for Woodinville City Council, which gained three new council members at the start of 2022. Beyond the fresh slate of faces, two members are stepping into leadership roles on council for the first time.
Councilmember Mike Millman, who ran for reelection unopposed in November 2021, was selected as the new mayor during the first council meeting of the year Tuesday, Jan. 4. Councilmember James Randolph was elected to deputy mayor.
All three newcomers to council voted for Millman. Councilmembers Al Taylor and Les Rubstello each nominated and voted for themselves. Councilmember Rachel Best-Cambell abstained from the vote.
Millman said former mayors and people of influence around town reached out and encouraged him to run for mayor, but he did not expect to be nominated or elected.
“I’m excited about the opportunity and honored to have the support of the council,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to make sure the council is transparent and collegial. I want to make sure that we’re doing our best for the citizens of Woodinville.”
He said it was “certainly not an ambition or a goal” to be mayor three years ago when he retired from Everett Fire Department. It built from working on the city’s planning commission and ultimately being appointed to city council in February 2021, he said.
Randolph was elected in a 4-3 vote against Best-Campbell for deputy mayor. Millman and the three new council members sided with Randolph, while Best-Campbell voted for herself alongside Taylor and Rubstello.
Millman said he is looking forward to the partnership with Randolph.
“He’s very intelligent, and very passionate about the issues in Woodinville,” he said. “I think he’s going to be a great deputy mayor.”
He is excited to work with a combination of experienced council members and new people with different ideas, Millman said. He added that he will continue to rely on Best-Campbell and Rubstello based on their experiences with particular issues and processes.
“All the new council members are very bright, very energetic, very eager to get working on city issues,” Millman said. “I think that combination of experience and energy and diversity of thought is going to be a good mix.”
Looking forward, Millman wants to focus on traffic and development in town. The two issues go “hand-in-hand,” he said, and he doesn’t want them to work against each other. More development brings more people, he said, which adds to the traffic problem.
“Any development that we do must align with the traffic situation,” he said. “That’s one of the priority issues from our citizens, and so that’s going to be tackled early in 2022 with our traffic master plan. I’m looking forward to having a good discussion on some of these development projects in front of us.”
As mayor, Millman said, his main focus is guiding the group in meetings to ensure “good debate on complex issues and transparency to the public.” He plans to form strong relationships with the public, city staff and amongst the council so that everyone is heard and respected, he said.
“I don’t want the council to be at cross purposes if I can help it,” he said. “I’d like us to have a good working relationship with everybody.”