Another former candidate files motion to force action on council vacancy

Martin believes the city missed its opportunity, wants county to select replacement
By Dnan Aznoff | Dec 27, 2017

A second unsuccessful candidate for the Mill Creek City Council has a filed motion with the Snohomish County Superior Court that would give members of the county council the authority to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of a city councilmember who moved out of the city.

Mill Creek resident Herbie Martin, who was defeated in his attempt to win a seat on the city council four years ago, plans to ask the court to rule that Sean Kelly vacated his seat on the council on July 31, which means the city council forfeited the right to name his replacement because it did not act within the required 90 days.

The court hearing to rule on Martin’s motion to challenge the city council’s authority is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 5. He filed his motion on Dec. 21.

The latest filing is in addition to the motion to contest the results of the election filed by Kelly’s opponent, Carmen Fisher. The challenger collected approximately 28 percent of the vote in the November general election.

“There was very little—or zero transparency—on the part of the city. Both by the council as well as the city manager and the city attorney,” Martin told The Beacon. “If Carmen Fisher had not filed her motion to contest the election, Sean Kelly would be sitting on the council right now, voting on issues that impact every citizen of Mill Creek.”

City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto said the city would withhold issuing a statement on the situation until the city attorney has had an opportunity to review the court order.

Kelly admitted to the Elections Canvassing Board in December that had moved out of the city and was living in Snohomish when he ran for re-election. Kelly’s resignation was backdated to July 31, according to Polizzotto. She added that he has returned all payments from the city between Aug. 1 and Dec. 1, 2017.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Appel issued a ruling on Dec. 15 that “Kelly is not a resident of the City of Mill Creek and therefore is not qualified to hold City of Mill Creek Council Position No. 1.”

The judge, however, stopped short of declaring Fisher the winner of the election. Both Fisher and Martin have indicated they will ask to be considered to fill the empty seat.

Fisher was realistic in her appraisal of the situation.

“It’s clear there are many issues that need to be resolved before a replacement can be considered,” Fisher said. ““I have no doubt that a judge would rule in my favor if I decided had chosen to take this matter one step further, but that would not have been in the best interest of the city at this point.”

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