Thursday, October 12, 2006
The city of White Salmon has a new mayor.
With a 3-0 vote on the evening of Oct. 4, members of the White Salmon City Council selected Francis Gaddis to serve as mayor until November 2007, when the mayor's office will next be on the election ballot.
Gaddis, a member of the City Council, has been serving as acting mayor since former Mayor Roger Holen was recalled by voters in August.
Gaddis said dealing with the city's moratorium on water hookups and securing new water rights is the biggest problem facing White Salmon.
"The number one priority today is to correct our water situation. We're working on that as rapidly as we possibly can," Gaddis said.
Gaddis added that he is appreciative of the show of support.
"I want to thank all the people for having faith in me, and the council for asking me to do this again," he said.
The only other candidate hoping to serve as mayor was another council member, Richard Marx. Marx had a suggestion for how the council should choose its mayor in the future.
"Next time, we arm wrestle," Marx quipped.
Gaddis then took the oath of office and began his new stint as mayor. Gaddis previously served as White Salmon's mayor for eight years in the 1980s, and has many years of experience on the City Council as well.
Given his long history of service to White Salmon, Gaddis indicated that he would not rule out a run for mayor in 2007.
"I don't want to make a decision that far ahead," he said.
After Gaddis was sworn in, the council then selected a "mayor pro tem," the person who will serve as acting mayor if Gaddis is not available.
Council member Timi Keene was chosen for this role with a 4-0 vote.
"OK, you're in the driver's seat if I'm not here," Gaddis said to Keene after the vote.
Keene said the council was pleased to have the mayoral selection process successfully completed.
"We're looking forward to working with an experienced mayor," Keene said.
Marx said he hoped the new mayor would help to chart a more effective path for the city.
"Let's work with what we've got and see what happens," Marx said. "We still have a lot of problems to solve, so let's see what will change. We've gone through three clerk-treasurers and are on our third mayor, and nothing seems to have changed. If it doesn't change, the problem obviously isn't the mayor or the clerk-treasurer."
Gaddis acknowledged that some citizens continue to feel their voices are not being heard, and he said he would try to resolve that.
"I'll just encourage them to come to the City Council meetings and ask questions and make comments," Gaddis said. "We're open about everything. We have a lot of educated, smart people out there, and they can share ideas with all the council."
One of the citizens present at the meeting praised the council for choosing Gaddis to be mayor.
"I want to thank the council for this decision," said Clyde Knowles. "We had two worthy candidates."
With Gaddis becoming mayor, that creates a vacancy on the City Council. The city will accept letters of interest from any city residents who would like to apply for the council position. Letters will be accepted at City Hall until Oct. 20.
The appointment to fill the seat is expected to take place at the City Council's regular meeting on Nov. 1.
"We're hoping a number of qualified individuals will step forward," Keene said.