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Council position attracts 9 applicants

Hours before the application period ended, nine candidates had applied for the Oak Harbor City Council position left vacant when Sheilah Crider was appointed Island County Auditor.

Paint Your World owner Ron Apgar felt compelled to apply as a means to inject much needed small business representation into the local government group.

“Being a small business, we need that,” said Apgar, the four-year Oak Harbor resident who was active in starting the downtown Harborside Shops Merchants Association, and served as vice president for two years.

Former longtime City Council member Paul Brewer, who vacated his seat after being defeated in the mayoral election, will attempt to regain his position.

“There’s things I’d like to get done, but there was a lot we accomplished,” he said, adding that the new council members are undergoing a steep learning curve. “I’d bring the experience to the table. I want to get back in there.”

Brewer said if he is not chosen for the position, he will run in the 2009 general election.

Scott Dudley, a financial advisor who has worked for Edward Jones Investments for 13 years, feels he will complement the council. He said he did not run in Oak Harbor before because he was pleased with the quality of the candidates.

“I’d like to ensure to the progress continues,” he said. “I want to make the machine in place continue to run extremely well.”

No stranger to local government, he served on the Rainier City Council in Thurston County from 1995 to 1998.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It was a great way of giving back and I look forward to doing it again.”

Nine-year resident Peter Schott said, with no “axe” to grind, he is the scruffy “clean” council member the council needs. He retired after 20 years with Air Force in heavy ground radar. He then started the Florida corporation Onboard Marine, Inc., which he ran for a decade. Schott said he is not afraid to speak his mind and he wants to add a fresh perspective and knowledge to the council.

“I wanted to bring some new thoughts and ideas into the future of Oak Harbor,” he said. “I wanted to be heard and help change the ‘yes man’ syndrome of past city councils.

“I want to minimize or at least correct some of the projects of the past and future.”

Pat Harman, an Oak Harbor resident since 2006, and his wife chose Whidbey Island as their new home while still living in Alaska. Now retired, he said he has time to devote to the council position.

Harman brings extensive experience in the areas of public policy and finance from his time as a legislative aide, and his service on various boards and communities. Virtually all of his public service was during a period of economic recession or economic downturn, his resume revealed.

“This experience will be timely for the city of Oak Harbor, since I understand what it takes to operate with smaller budgets, while providing essential services and at the same time funding quality of life programs,” he said.

Walt Caravan, Gary L. Gallaway and Carol Goeth are also reportedly vying for the position, but they were unreachable before press time.

Councilmen Rick Almberg, Jim Campbell and Eric Gerber are the governmental services standing committee tasked with whittling down the pool of candidates.

Once the committee finishes reviewing the applications and shortens the list to three, the entire council will have the option at its March 4 meeting of convening in executive session to dissect the qualifications and generate a list of pros and cons.

The public will be able to watch the interview process at the March 18 meeting. The council will ideally elect an applicant following interviews.

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