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Kent seeks applicants to fill vacant City Council position

The Kent City Council posted a help wanted sign on Wednesday to fill a vacant council position.

Ken Sharp's sudden resignation Jan. 16 because of pending first-degree theft charges against him after only two weeks in office left the seven-member council one person short.

Council President Dana Ralph announced the plan to find a replacement at Tuesday's regular meeting. The council will pick the replacement.

People who have lived in Kent for at least one year and are registered voters can apply up to 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, online at the city website kentwa.gov or email applications to cityclerk@kentwa.gov. Applicants should submit a resume and a cover letter about why they want to serve on the council. The part-time position pays $13,752 per year.

The council will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 to review the applications and decide who they want to interview as finalists. The council will have another special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 to interview the finalists and then meet in executive session before voting on who shall be appointed.

"We encourage anyone that is interested to apply," Ralph said. "This is a unique position. It's filling a fairly long term because of how quickly the resignation occurred. It does present a unique opportunity for people who want to become involved in this process."

Ralph said applicants should include relevant experience such as work with civic, professional or volunteer organizations as well as city boards or commissions.

The term of the person appointed to the position will begin immediately and end when the November 2015 election is certified. The person appointed is eligible to run for the position in 2015.

The council is following the same format used to appoint Jamie (Danielson) Perry in 2008 after Councilman Bob O'Brien died in office from cancer. Fifteen residents applied for the position and seven were interviewed.

So far, Bailey Stober, Debbie Raplee and Wade Schwartz have announced plans to apply for the vacancy.

Stober lost to Sharp in November and is under investigation by the state Public Disclosure Commission for failing to file expense reports during his campaign. Raplee was a last-minute write-in candidate against Sharp and Stober. She served eight years on the council before losing to Bill Boyce in the 2011 election. Schwartz lost to Jim Berrios in the other council race in November.

Sharp faces seven counts of first-degree theft for reportedly stealing $297,500 from his 93-year-old mother's bank account and putting the money into his account to help his struggling Kent print company. He is scheduled for a court hearing on Feb. 19. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

 

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