Olsen reappointed to old city Council seat

Out of the limelight one day, back on stage the next.

Recently retired City Councilman Wayne Olsen — very recently retired — was appointed to his old Council post Wednesday to replace Glenn Jarstad.

Jarstad was elected to the Dist. 1 seat in November after Olsen announced he wouldn’t run again. But in a tragic turn of events, Jarstad’s cancer returned and he died at age 80 on Jan. 27.

He lived long enough to be sworn in and attend one meeting.

According to City Charter, the Council position had to be filled in a month, or the mayor would appoint someone.

The Council wasted no time soliciting candidates for the appointed replacement. They received seven applications — the three who ran against Jarstad in the Primaries last summer, plus three newcomers ... and Olsen.

Applicants included Michael Eversole and Jan Hillman, who were eliminated in the Primary election, and Brad Gehring, who narrowly lost to Jarstad in the November General Election. Other applicants were June Watterson, Larry Knapp and Alan Strange.

After conducting lengthy interviews with the applicants Wednesday, Feb. 13, the eight Council members went into closed executive session. After coming out, they conducted a public written vote and selected Olsen, 5 to 3.

Council member Maupin voted for Hillman, Short voted for Watterson, and Shepherd voted for Knapp.

In explaining why he applied, “I discovered I missed it,” said the nearly 65-year-old Olsen, who spent a four-year term on the Council.

“Over the last four years we (the Council) worked very hard with (then-Mayor Lynn Horton) to get downtown (revitalization) to materialize. Somehow it never happened.”

The Council and the mayor spent four months embroiled in a dispute over whether to keep or discharge then-City Attorney Glenna Malanca. There were reports of earlier friction between the mayor and Council concerning other department heads and city employees. The city attorney debacle practically went to court.

“But with this new mayor,” continued Olsen, “things are going to happen. “He has the vision and he seems to have the backers — to get the money — to get things done .... He’s knows a lot of people.”

Olsen gave credit to former Mayor Horton for getting things started in redevelopment toward the end of her term.

“She started it. He’ll finish it,” he said.

As for his reappointment:

“I was very surprised they picked me,” he said. “It was close.” he said about the Council’s decision. “I was no shoe-in. There were some great people running for that seat.”

Olsen said he plans to meet with each of those not appointed to gather ideas and suggestions.

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