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Benedict resigns from WS council; replacement will be on Nov. 6 ballot

Candidate filing period soon

Susan Benedict, a member of the White Salmon City Council for the past eight years, has left the council.

Benedict, an emergency room nurse, will be moving to Mosier, Ore., and as a result will no longer be able to serve on the council.

"It has been a very great experience and I'm very appreciative of working with all of you, but I'm moving out of the city limits," Benedict explained.

Her resignation was effective after the June 20 meeting.

"The whole town is obliged to her," said council member John Mayo. "To volunteer for the city is really a thankless job, and not always easy. I really respect her stepping up like that."

"We'll very much miss Susan's service to the city," added council member Timi Keene. "As one of the senior members of the council, her knowledge of the city's practices and procedures will be sorely missed."

There will be a two-track process to fill Benedict's slot (Position No. 3) on the City Council. To fill the seat between now and November, the other four White Salmon City Council members will appoint someone to serve until November.

Then, because of the timing of Benedict's resignation, the city's voters will be able to decide during the Nov. 6 general election who will serve in Benedict's former position for the next two years.

Klickitat County Auditor Brenda Sorensen said there will be a special three-day extended filing period to receive filings for those interested in running for the office.

Sorensen said the filing dates are likely to be July 11-13, but that is contingent upon the Auditor's Office getting confirmation that Benedict has resigned.

As of Monday, no official letter of resignation had yet come in from Benedict. The Auditor's Office needs proof of Benedict's resignation before a filing period can be set.

To be on the general election ballot, prospective White Salmon City Council candidates need to sign up at the Klickitat County Auditor's Office in Goldendale.

Because of the lateness of the notice of the open council seat, however, there will be no primary election for Position No. 3. All candidates who file to run for that specific office -- regardless of how many -- will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

The winner in the general election will serve on the council until the end of 2009.

Keene pointed out that the appointment process and the filings to be on the general election ballot were two separate events.

"The filling of this temporary council seat should not be confused with the special July filing and November election to fill this position for the remaining two years," Keene said.

Keene said the city would seek letters of intent from prospective temporary candidates. The council will then interview the candidates during the regular council meeting on July 18, and reach a consensus on an appointee to serve until November.

Those interested in serving on the City Council are requested to deliver a letter of intent to White Salmon City Hall. The deadline is July 13.

Among the legal requirements to serve on the council: candidates must be a registered voter of the city, and must have been a resident of the city for at least one year.

Although not a legal requirement, the city is also requesting that the candidate pledge to serve at least until the results of the Nov. 6 general election are certified in late November. At that point, the winning candidate from the election will take over the council seat.

Two other council seats will also be up for grabs in November, but the filing period has already closed for those positions.

With Benedict resigning, the city will soon see at least two new faces on the five-member council: Someone new will take over Benedict's position, and Bob Landgren is running unopposed for another open council seat on the Nov. 6 ballot.

There could be further change as well, as incumbent councilor Richard Marx faces an election challenge from former councilor Susan Gookin on the general election ballot.


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