Oak Harbor City Council gains two, loses one

— Created January 5, 2022 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

As the Oak Harbor City Council welcomes two new members to its ranks – Shane Hoffmire and Dan Evans (Councilman Bryan Stucky has already assumed his seat) – another council member has resigned his position.

Council member Jeff Mack submitted his resignation, effective Dec. 30, after fulfilling half his term, which was to end Dec. 31, 2023. He emailed his notice Dec. 29 to Mayor Bob Severns, city staff and other council members, according to a notice posted on the city’s website.

In his brief letter, which he provided to Whidbey Weekly, Mack cited personal reasons for his departure.

“As you may be aware, I am currently in the process of closing my business after 50 years in retail,” the letter read. “Due to this, along with other personal issues, I regret to inform you that I am tendering my resignation from City Council, Position 3 effective Thursday, December 30th. Being on City Council has been a learning experience. I wish the City of Oak Harbor and staff all the best in their future endeavors.”

Severns’ reaction to Mack’s resignation was equally brief.

“Former Councilmember Jeff Mack explained his reasons for resigning in his notification,” he told Whidbey Weekly through an email from Sabrina Combs, the city’s communications/IT manager.

“I appreciate the service that Councilmember Mack provided to this community during his time as a City Councilmember,” Severns’ statement concluded.

When asked by Whidbey Weekly what the next steps are for filling the Position 3 vacancy, Combs directed us to watch the Oak Harbor City Council meeting Tuesday, which falls after our press deadline.

“The City Administrator will present the process for filling the vacancy to City Council at the Regular Council Meeting on January 4, 2022, at 6 p.m., for City Council approval,” she wrote. “The objective of the proposed schedule is to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. Please tune in to tomorrow’s City Council meeting for more details.”

The rules for filling the vacancy and a proposed timeline are outlined in the City Council’s meeting packet, posted on the City’s website.

As called for in the city’s code (RCW 42.12.070), the vacancy must be filled within 90 days, or by the end of March. State law requires the person appointed to serve until the next general election, which in this case will be in November 2023.

The timeline scheduled to be presented at the regular council meeting Tuesday evening (after Whidbey Weekly’s press deadline) suggests the vacancy be advertised through the end of the month, with an application deadline of Jan. 31.

The council would then review qualified applicants at its Feb. 15 meeting and create a “short list,” if necessary. The proposal suggests council interview applicants at its Feb. 23 workshop, meet in executive session to discuss the applicants and make a decision, then announce its final selection and swear in the new council member in open session.

The last time the City Council had to fill a vacancy was in mid-2020, when council member Bill Larsen resigned.

All applicants for the current vacancy are required to be a registered voter in Island County and live within Oak Harbor city limits. As of 2022, city council members earn $737 per month, plus benefits. Visit oakharbor.org to find more information and the results of Tuesday night’s council meeting.