By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published June 6, 2012
Gigi Burke selected as interim City Council member
EVERETT - Working quickly last week, the City Council selected someone to temporarily fill the seat left empty by the passing of Councilman Drew Nielsen.
Gigi Burke got the nod after five of the six council members nominated her from a pool of 10 applicants.
Burke is the former co-owner of an Anheuser-Busch distributor and currently sits on the Everett Community College board and the board that oversees Comcast Arena.
The date to swear Burke into office had yet to be set at press time.
The city charter requires the City Council to fill the vacancy both in the interim and for the remainder of the seat’s term. The remainder of the term will be filled through the November general election.
The six council members made their nominations for the interim member through a sealed ballot nomination process that was revealed May 30. Council members Ron Gipson, Brenda Stonecipher, Arlan Hatloe, Shannon Affholter and Jeff Moore nominated Burke, while Councilman Paul Roberts nominated former city planner Reid Shockey.
Roberts agreed to appoint Burke after seeing the tally, calling her a “terrific candidate.”
“If I were Reid Shockey and heard all these names, I wouldn’t necessarily want to come in to an interview,” Roberts joked.
After revealing each member’s nomination, the council then was going to publicly interview the top voter getters at a later council meeting.
Shockey told the Tribune he supported the decision.
“I saw Paul say ‘let’s make it unanimous for Gigi’ and I was ready to call Paul’s cell phone to tell him yes,” Shockey said.
Burke will join the council until the general election to fill Nielsen’s seat is certified, which will happen in late November.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the interim Everett City Council member,” Burke wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune. “I look forward to this opportunity to serve the citizens of Everett.”
There are five people running in the November general election to fill the remainder of Nielsen’s term through 2015. Burke filed to run but quickly withdrew her name.
The decision to expedite the interim appointment was made “in the spirit of the process,” city attorney Jim Iles said.
The other interim candidates were criminal justice professor Jon Ott, who is running for the seat’s remainder; attorney John Flowers; business owner Brian Hollingshead; county superior court program administrator Janelle Sgrignoli; legislative assistant to state Sen. Nick Harper Marissa Ingalls; Mortgage Advisory Group vice president David Gardner and financial advisor Jessica Pavish.
Since five people have filed to fill the seat’s term remainder, there will be a primary election in August that will send the top-two vote getters to the general election in November.
Nielsen, 61, a well-respected council member and civic leader, died Saturday, May 12 in a whitewater rafting accident on the Green River in King County. Nielsen, an expert whitewater rafter, became pinned under the raft after it capsized and could not escape.
At the time of his death, he was in his third term in office.
There hasn’t been a council member in recent memory to die while in office.