With an unusually large pool of candidates to choose from, the White Salmon City Council had some tough choices to make last week in deciding who to appoint to a council vacancy.
After some wrangling, Mark Peppel -- who has been serving as a Planning Commission member -- was selected to be the newest member of the City Council.
A total of four citizens stepped up to express interest in filling the open seat left when former council member Timi Keene moved out of White Salmon.
The candidates were: Doug Charters, Mark Peppel, Don Tackley, and Adrian Bradford.
Mayor David Poucher advised the council members who were charged with choosing Keene's replacement that the selection process required a minimum of three votes among the four remaining councilors.
"If we don't have three votes, it doesn't happen," Poucher said before the candidates were interviewed on Nov. 5.
After the four candidates were asked a series of questions during the public meeting, council member Brad Roberts pointed out that the choice would not be an easy one.
"It's a real hard decision," Roberts explained. "We have a lot of qualified people."
Council member Leana Johnson then made a motion to name Don Tackley to the opening.
However, when the vote was called, only two council members -- Roberts and Johnson -- supported Tackley. Councilors Bob Landgren and Richard Marx did not concur, so the choice of Tackley was not agreed to.
Marx then made a motion to nominate Mark Peppel. That choice was approved 3-0, with Bob Landgren declining to cast a vote.
After his selection, Peppel, 56, said he is looking forward to helping the city.
"That was always my intention, to hopefully add something better to the city," he said.
Peppel said his involvement in city affairs probably tipped the scales toward him in the process.
"Everybody had pretty good intentions, but then again I ran for it last year, and am on all those committees already," he said.
Peppel was on the ballot in 2007 as he made a bid to win election to the seat, but he was narrowly defeated by Leana Johnson.
In addition to serving on the Planning Commission, Peppel also serves on the city's comprehensive plan annexation committee, and has been attending meetings of the city's human resources committee and budget committee.
He pointed out that the city has some major issues to deal with: the water situation, how to handle the city budget, and settling the union contract with city employees.
"Those are the three biggest issues right now," he said.
Landgren said he decided not to vote because he felt the council should take more time with the process.
"I wanted time to think about it," Landgren explained. "When making a decision like that, it's nice to sit down and weigh the options. I wanted time to relax and make sure we're doing what's best for the city."
Landgren added that his decision had nothing to do with any specific candidate.
"I think all of the candidates would be good choices," he said. "I look forward to working with Mark. I appreciate that he's been active in committees; that's important to me. He knows the workings of the city."
Landgren said he was impressed that so many people wanted to serve on the council.
"We've had a hard time getting people interested, so having four candidates was real positive for the city," Landgren said.
Mayor Poucher said he believed Peppel would be a valuable addition to the council.
"I think Mark will be a real asset for the city," Poucher said.