Eatonville is losing a treasurer and gaining a mayor with the apparent election of Mike Schaub to Town Hall’s top job.
Schaub, the town’s elected treasurer, was leading in early returns from the general election. In voting that ended Tuesday, he had 55 percent of the votes to the approximately 44 percent of his opponent, Town Councilman Gordon Bowman..
The outcome gives Schaub a four-year term. He’ll replace Mayor Ray Harper, who is giving up the office after his first and only term.
Schaub has emphasized he would focus on the town’s fiscal health, which is improving but has had hard times in recent years that caused layoffs of employees and other budget upheaval. He said he would draw on his experience as the town treasurer and working the past 10 years for the state on accounting and budget policies and financial reports for the state Office of Financial Management. Echoing Bowman, he also said the town must pursue a better business climate, partly by giving visitors more reasons to spend time and money in Eatonville.
Bowman talked extensively during the campaign about the potential he sees for economic growth in Eatonville and his ability to devote as much attention as necessary to mayoral duties and town issues. He said the town needs a full-time mayor and noted Harper was stepping away from the office, which has a salary of $16,000 per year, because of the dual demands of town business and his job with Boeing. Bowman noted he’s “semi-retired.”
In the primary election in August, Schaub finished first and Bowman second in the four-candidate race. For the general-election faceoff, they had different ideas for revitalizing the town. Among others, Schaub advocates partnerships with Mount Rainier National Park to tap into the visitor business, and Bowman envisions fast-food restaurants and a private-enterprise campground. But the candidates’ overall goals were similar: Transparent government and a sounder budget.