New Lacey City Council member Jeff Gadman earned praise Thursday night for his history of public service, as well as his interviewing skills.
Gadman was chosen from among 10 applicants – an 11th dropped out during the week for health reasons – to finish the term of Mary Dean, who resigned her seat late last year. He will serve until the fall election, when he can run for the seat.
But he wasn’t the first applicant to be nominated.
After more than two hours of interviews and an hourlong executive session, council member Jason Hearn made a motion to nominate Lenny Greenstein, a member of the Lacey Planning Commission. The motion was seconded by Deputy Mayor Virgil Clarkson but failed to garner any further council support.
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Council member Cynthia Pratt then nominated Gadman, and he was approved with a unanimous vote. He will be sworn in during this Thursday’s council meeting.
After the meeting, Pratt praised Gadman’s public service and interview performance.
“I thought he showed passion,” she said.
During his interview, Gadman told the council he’d work hard to make Lacey a city people are proud to call home.
“I would like people to say, ‘I’m from Lacey,’” he said.
On the question of how Lacey should build a sense of community, Gadman told the council during his interview that residents need to connect with their history and to take pride in their city. He also told the council that he’d make sure his positions are heard and will try to convince skeptics, but added that “just because I don’t get something put through now, doesn’t mean we can’t try later.”
After the vote, Gadman said he had a few ideas on where he’d like to see Lacey head.
“The city is going to continue to grow,” he said, adding the focus should be on attracting businesses that create family-wage jobs that are environmentally friendly.
This isn’t Gadman’s first try at public office. He made a bid for assessor last year, finishing fourth in the primary. He ran as a Democrat.
The council interviewed all 10 candidates using the same six questions, including asking about the applicant’s view of the long-term vision for Lacey, how they would build a better community and how they would deal with being in the minority of a council decision.
The council had originally planned to interview 11 applicants, but Josip Mihelich backed out because of health concerns. Another surprise came when applicant Margie Engle asked during her interview to be taken out of consideration.
Greenstein, the only other applicant to receive a motion, says he has signed up with the Public Disclosure Commission and plans to run for the seat this fall.
Because Gadman will be finishing Dean’s term, he will have to run for election this year to seek a four-year term.
Jason Hearn, who nominated Greenstein, said he was impressed by the amount of work Greenstein had done for the city in his role on the planning commission.
“He was a great, great candidate,” he said, added that he supported the decision to nominate Gadman.
Other candidates were retired Thurston County internal auditor Jack Bryant; Thurston County retiring chief criminal deputy Jim Chamberlain; Lacey fire commissioner Lucius Daye; Washington Air National Guard noncommissioned officer Ryan Gress; former Lacey Mayor and council member Jon Halvorson; retired retail manager and consultant nutritionist Gerald Jorgensen; and Lacey Planning Commission member Don Melnick.
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