MOSES LAKE – Following a previous decision to seek applicants to fill a vacant seat, the Moses Lake City Council went a different direction Tuesday night.
By a 4-2 vote, the council approved rescinding their decision made July 12 to appoint a councilmember to Position No. 1 left vacant by the resignation of Bill Ecret. The council also approved by the same vote to leave the position vacant and allow the winning candidate in the general election to take the seat as soon as results are certified by the county Nov. 28.
Councilmembers David Curnel and Karen Liebrecht were in opposition on both votes.
Four applicants, who were in attendance during Tuesday’s meeting, submitted letters of intent to seek Ecret’s seat for the remainder of his term.
The council had 90 days from Ecret’s resignation to appoint someone to the position. With Tuesday’s decision, following those 90 days, county commissioners then have the ability to appoint someone to the seat, a move City Manager John Williams said is unlikely to happen.
The council voiced concerns about appointing someone to the council who was not voted in by the public, who would also have a say in upcoming budget talks while only serving until Ecret’s term is up Dec. 31.
“Each one of us as councilmembers are going to have to be responsible for their decisions and I’m not exactly comfortable with that,” Councilmember Don Myers said. “Leave that for the voters to decide who should be making those decisions.”
Mayor Todd Voth, who could be the one to fill Position No. 1 in the election after filing for that position instead of his current Position No. 4, also expressed concerns relating to the city’s budget decisions.
“We’re coming into our new budget cycle,” Voth said. “To put somebody on the council that’s very unfamiliar with what we’ve been doing through the past year, what we’re faced with…I really think we should allow the voters to put somebody in place.”
Councilmember Liebrecht said she felt the council was obligated to at least listen to the four applicants at their next meeting and if the council then decides not to make an appointment, to leave the position vacant.
Voth, along with Dean Hankins and Michael Riggs, have filed for Position No. 1.