This is a year of change for Eatonville’s town government.
It’s getting a new mayor, is assured of getting at least three new members of the Town Council, and might have a change in town treasurer, depending on the outcome of the general election in November.
The first shakeup will be completed before then. The council is scheduled to appoint a replacement Sept. 23 for Jim Valentine, who resigned unexpectedly from the council on Aug. 7, one day after he finished a distant fourth in the four-candidate field for mayor in the primary election.
Yesterday was the deadline for potential appointees to apply at Town Hall. The appointment is for the two years remaining in the four-year term that Valentine was serving before he stepped down without giving any explanation publicly. The seat will be up for election in 2015.
This fall’s election will continue the shifts in elected town leaders, starting at the top. Mayor Ray Harper isn’t seeking re-election for a second four-year term. Running to take his place are Treasurer Mike Schaub and Councilman Gordon Bowman. Schaub’s post will need to be filled if he claims the mayor’s office. Bowman is leaving the council regardless of whether he wins. His seat is up for election this year, but he chose to run for mayor, instead.
Andy Powell is the only candidate who filed for Bowman’s soon-to-be-vacant seat, virtually assuring him of being elected.
Another change for the council is certain, too. Councilman Bob Schaub, the father of Mike Schaub, announced earlier this year that 16 years on the council was enough and he wouldn’t run for re-election. Harper, who said he’s finding it difficult to handle the mayor’s duties along with his full-time job at Boeing but does have enough time to serve on the council, is running to replace Bob Schaub. His opponent is Bob Walter.
While a mayor stepping away from that office in order to pursue a council seat is unique, the marquee race is between Mike Schaub and Bowman for the office Harper is giving up.
Schaub was a clearcut frontrunner in the primary, polling 39 percent of the votes to Bowman’s 30 percent. Carl (Bud) Lucas and Valentine trailed at 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
After the primary, Schaub had a conciliatory tone, urging the losing candidates and the community to work with whoever becomes the new mayor. Bowman emphasized the need for a full-time mayor, not someone who also has a job outside Town Hall.
Schaub worked on state tax distribution in the state Department of Revenue for seven years. For the past 10 years, he has worked with state agencies on accounting and financial reporting as part of the Office of Financial Management.
Bowman, who calls himself “semi-retired,” is a former church and private school administrator. He’s been the pastor of Eatonville Christian Fellowship for 23 years.
Schaub, in a position he’s held the last six years, is the only elected town treasurer in Washington.
Bowman has been a council member since 2009.
Both candidates have called for strengthening the town’s financial health, offering various approaches. Bowman also wants to ease restrictions on businesses and economic development.