Kent City Council must find replacement for Ralph

Now that Dana Ralph has been elected Kent mayor, the City Council must figure out how to replace her on the council.

Ralph has two years remaining on her council term but will take over as mayor in January. She will finish out her council work over the next six weeks.

“Dana Ralph and (Council President) Bill Boyce have started the conversation but they haven’t made any decisions on what to recommend to council,” said Derek Matheson, city chief administrative officer, in an email last week. “State law gives wide discretion to councils on how to fill vacancies. The Kent City Council could directly appoint an individual, seek applicants and conduct interviews, or anything in between.”

Ralph, in her sixth year on council, defeated Jim Berrios in the Nov. 7 general election for mayor, which is a full-time position. The council positions are part-time jobs.

The city has precedent for replacing council members who leave before their term is up.

Ken Sharp resigned after just two weeks in office in January 2014 because of then-pending first-degree theft charges. The council appointed Brenda Fincher in February 2014 to replace Sharp. Fincher was one of 38 applicants for the position.

In 2008, Bob O’Brien died in office after a long battle with cancer. The council sought applicants and appointed Jamie (Danielson) Perry to the position.

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