Council will appoint short-term replacement

Oak Harbor City Council must appoint someone to fill a vacancy only until Nov. 28.

Due to the resignation of Dan Evans, Oak Harbor City Council must appoint someone to fill the vacancy only until Nov. 28, unless he or she runs and is elected in the Nov. 7 election.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, City Administrator Blaine Oborn said that council has 90 days to fill the vacancy. Evans resigned from his position April 5. His term would have ended on Dec. 31, 2025.

The person appointed by council will serve until Nov. 28, when the votes for the municipal general election are certified. The person who is elected to position No. 4 will fill the remaining term through Dec. 31, 2025.

“This one’s a little interesting here with the timing,” Oborn said.

This is the third time in three years council has had to appoint someone to a seat due to a resignation.

Oborn explained the timeline to fill the vacancy and called it “an accelerated process.”

May 8 is the deadline for applicants to submit to the clerk’s office. The city clerk has to verify the eligibility of all the applicants and submit the list to the council on May 16. The council will conduct interviews and swear in the selected candidate on May 24.

“Interestingly enough, the filing period is going to be in the middle of this process we’re doing here,” Oborn said. “It’s really not an option to leave it open because if you don’t fill it in 90 days the county commission fills the position.”

The filing period for the November general election is the week of May 15-19.

Councilmember Bryan Stucky said he was concerned about the “extremely awkward timing.”

“I would love for somebody who decided to go for this to also be running,” he said. “I personally don’t like the idea of somebody just being a temporary six-month candidate.”

Stucky said a question should be added to the application which asks if the candidate intends to run in the election.

Mayor Pro Tem Tara Hizon said the council might be giving a candidate an unfair advantage in the election by appointing him or her as a candidate.

Councilmember Eric Marshall said he was also concerned an appointment could be a “de facto endorsement.”

Nonetheless, council unanimously approved a motion to add a question to the application about whether or not the candidate intends to run in the election. Council also approved the proposed schedule.

“It’s a pretty unprecedented situation,” Hizon said. “It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.”