Meet the people who run your city
EVERETT - The gender and socioeconomic makeup of the Everett City Council looks largely the same despite recent calls from residents to bring more diversity to the council.
The City Council is made up of six men and one woman. Most make pretty good money and many are intertwined in an established group of upper class professionals who grew up in Everett.
The City Council isn’t lacking finance professionals. There are four on council.
Criticism about the council’s lack of diversity flared up last fall when people spoke up to tell council members to add another woman to the council when an opportunity to appoint someone arose.
All six other Washington cities with a population of more than 100,000 have at least two women on council, including Tacoma, Bellevue and Spokane, although Everett is the smallest among these six cities.
In November the council selected one of the people they’re familiar with, Rich Anderson, an accountant from Everett High’s 1972 graduating class, among a field of 12 candidates to replace former Councilman Shannon Affholter, who left for a job with the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.
Schack Art Center executive director Judy Tuohy, another EHS ’72 graduate, came in second with two of the six votes.
The appointment process traditionally has yielded men, from Anderson and Scott Murphy to the late attorney and civic leader Drew Nielsen.
The council is made up of three accountants, a finance director, a corrections officer, a public works expert and policy consultant and a church fundraising director.
A majority of council members have white collar jobs that out-earn the $47,000 average household income of Everett residents, according to 2010 U.S Census numbers.
In last November’s election, Murphy handily defeated grassroots populist candidate Jackie Minchew. Three other council seats and the mayor’s seat went uncontested.
Mayor Ray Stephanson is entering his 11th year as full-time mayor. An Everett native, Stephanson promotes having a steady hand on the budget and spent last year leading efforts to land the Boeing 777X work and finding a buyer for the former Kimberly-Clark Mill site.
Council President Jeff Moore enters his second year as nominal president, a role in which he moderates City Council meetings and sets the weekly agenda. Councilman Scott Bader is council vice president.
Councilman Ron Gipson is the longest-serving council member. He was elected in 1995 to succeed his father, longtime Councilman Carl Gipson. He is the council’s only blue collar worker and works as a corrections officer at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center. He often asks pointed questions about how the city is serving people.
Councilwoman Brenda Stonecipher is the second-longest serving council member, and the only woman on the council. Stonecipher is an accountant at a private school in Seattle. She is known to question city operations, such as how fire code enforcement reflects the true safety of apartment buildings downtown. She currently is raising red flags about Polygon Northwest’s plans for the Riverfront Development.
Councilman Paul Roberts brings decades of public works and policy-making experience to council. He is the former public works director for Everett and Marysville. Roberts currently is a manager at a planning strategies firm. Roberts has led internal policy efforts in the city and participates on numerous regional transportation and planning boards for the city.
Moore is entering his fifth year on the City Council and is the Everett School District’s finance director. The son of longtime Mayor Bill Moore, Jeff Moore set the tone for council meetings since becoming council president. Moore, like the other three financial professionals on the council, keeps a keen eye on the city’s finances.
Bader was elected in 2012. He is a fundraising director for the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. Bader, who still holds a committee member post in the Riverside Neighborhood, raises questions on how city policies impact neighborhoods and civic life.
Murphy, an accountant who is the chief operating officer of a midsized local firm, was appointed in 2012 and defended his seat last November. Murphy asks pointed questions related to the city budget and any legal arrangements the city gets involved in.
Anderson is the council’s newest member. He is an Everett native and longtime accountant. Anderson was appointed to the City Council in November. He, like the other financial professionals, recently grilled city staff about banking minutia with regards to an arrangement the city was setting up to give a local bank millions of dollars of federal tax credits to loan to local small businesses.
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