City Council selects Rich Anderson to fill vacancy
EVERETT - Everett native and accountant Rich Anderson was appointed the newest member of the Everett City Council.
Anderson, 59, last week was selected in a final 4-2 council vote over Schack Art Center director Judy Tuohy to fill the seat vacated by Shannon Affholter.
Anderson is a self-described fiscal conservative who said he wants to grow downtown and promised to reach out to Everett’s 19 neighborhoods.
He will be sworn in this week on Nov. 20.
What attracted council members to Anderson was his working knowledge of city operations. For years, Anderson has taken it upon himself to look through the city’s budget. The city also hired his firm Hascal, Sjoholm & Co. to analyze Polygon’s finances to assess if the homebuilder had the capital to build the Riverfront Development project.
The council also liked that Anderson addressed growing concerns about the city’s long-term financial stability during his interview.
Applicant June Robinson, who had half of the council’s support last week, dropped out right before selection day because she’s hoping to snag a state representative’s seat that could open up if Reps. John McCoy or Mike Sells go for the Senate seat left vacant by Nick Harper of Everett.
Council President Jeff Moore and Councilmen Scott Murphy, Scott Bader and Ron Gipson voted for Anderson.
Councilman Paul Roberts and Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher voted for Tuohy.
“The decision becomes who is best suited to come on board and understand the financial trade-offs each of those decisions encompass (in the budget),” Murphy said, calling Anderson the “one clear choice” for the job with the budget being in focus.
Anderson was Murphy’s campaign treasurer in his 2013 election race, which Murphy disclosed during the selection process.
“Knowing its 12 months and we’ve got a huge crisis coming, with six months to get up to speed I have to support Rich Anderson knowing he’s engaged in the community since 1994,” Moore said.
Roberts supported Tuohy. He said she brings balance to the council with a different skill set as a nonprofit leader.
“How do we reach out and capture more voices not represented on this dais,” Roberts said.
During her interview, Tuohy spoke of her role building the Schack Art Center in concert with the city and her associated budget experience. She said her top three priorities are the budget, infrastructure maintenance and safety.
Moore was disappointed that no Latino or Asian candidates came forward.
Gipson said the council already is diversified as he is a blue-collar worker. Gipson also is black.
“I must be invisible or something,” he said.
About 10 unhappy people beelined out of the City Council Chambers while the selection of Anderson was being made.
Many who walked out wanted a second woman appointed to the male-dominated council.
Applicant Megan Dunn had rallied for adding more diversity on the council to balance the dominant group of white-collar white men before applying for the position herself.
“We have a council that does not represent our city,” said Dunn, a finalist for the seat, after the selection. “The city has asked for changes and they did not listen.”
The approximately 15 people who wrote to the city regarding the selection process primarily supported Robinson, Tuohy and Dunn. Many others wrote that they simply wanted a woman on the council.
“There are barriers that exist to getting (elected onto) council, and after tonight the barriers are even higher,” Dunn said post-meeting.
“The good old boys are alive and well in Everett,” resident Gail Chism said.
Former Councilwoman Gigi Burke, who was appointed for one term last year, said she “never would have been wanted to be chosen based on my gender.”
Stonecipher agreed with Burke. She said she didn’t know if she should be “flattered or horrified” by the push to add women to council.
Dunn promised that no election would go unchallenged next year. This year Moore, Roberts and Mayor Ray Stephanson ran unopposed.
The term lasts through next November when the 2014 general election results are certified. Anderson said last week he plans to run for election in 2014 to keep the seat for the remainder of the term, which expires at the end of 2015.
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