Bremerton city council members selected Wendy Priest to serve the remainder of former councilman Roy Runyon’s term in District 4.
Priest, who served on the council from 2004 to 2007, was among five finalists interviewed over the course of about an hour Monday at city hall. The council then went into an executive session for about twenty minutes before emerging to vote, in three rounds, to secure a five-member majority to appoint Priest.
During her brief interview with the council, Priest highlighted her former experience on the council, saying that it often takes newcomers “six months or longer to get an understanding of how the city works” whereas she has “the experience to jump in” right away. She also noted that she spent many hours studying utility rates during her time on the council, something that the city council is currently addressing.
Priest, an interior designer, stay at home mom and volunteer, talked about continuing efforts to revitalize downtown with a focus on walkability and business retention. She also pledged that she will only serve through the end of her appointment and not campaign for election in November.
Runyon announced in early January that he was resigning due to a move out of the district. The other applicants to replace him included Anita Lynn Albright, a Realtor who serves on a variety of nonprofit boards; Jerald McDonald, a retired Harborside Condominium Association president who has been working on increasing Bremerton tourism; Dino Davis, a Realtor, Kiwanian and Union Hill Neighborhood Association member; and Michael Goodnow, the director of development at Hospice of Kitsap County and chair of Community Development Block Grant Review Committee.
Davis and Goodnow each got one vote in the first round while Priest and McDonald each earned three votes to advance to a second round that ended in a four-four tie. In the third round, Priest picked up a fifth vote to earn the seat. (See accompanying vote for details.)
Prior to the balloting, Councilman Adam Brockus asked City Attorney Roger Lubovich whether there could be any conflict of interest concerns in voting due to pending voter-approved redistricting that will shrink the council from nine districts to seven districts.
“Considering one of us might have to run against this person, is there any reason we should not (vote tonight)?” Brockus asked.
Lubovich said it wasn’t an issue.
“There is no legal conflict,” he said. “We vetted that out and it’s very clear.”
Priest was slated to take her oath of office to join the council at the start of the regular business meeting Wednesday.