Despite an effort to appoint longtime Lacey City Councilman Virgil Clarkson to be the next mayor or deputy mayor of the city, a majority of the council chose continuity Thursday night and retained Andy Ryder as mayor and Cynthia Pratt as deputy mayor.
Both will serve two more years in those roles.
Before the council vote was taken for either position, Councilman Jason Hearn nominated Clarkson and argued that it would be a fitting sendoff for him to end his career on the council as either mayor or deputy mayor.
Clarkson, 83, announced this week that he will not seek another term on the council. Once his term ends in 2017, he will have served nearly 20 years on the council.
“It would be wonderful in my opinion if he served as mayor or deputy mayor for the final two years,” Hearn said.
But the council did not support Clarkson for either role by a 4-3 vote. After the meeting, Councilman Jeff Gadman, who voted for Ryder and Pratt, said that Andy has done a good job for the city.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Virgil — either one of them would have been fine — but at this time I supported Andy,” he said.
Clarkson said he was disappointed in the council vote, saying he would have loved to serve in either role.
“I continually tell the council: anything they want of me, I will do,” he said.
“It is what it is,” said Clarkson about the outcome of Thursday’s vote. “That’s the best I can say for it.”
Ryder, 41, said his goals this year include working toward a one-stop veterans assistance center that would provide continuing education, health care and help homeless veterans. He also wants to continue to re-energize the Woodland District, an area of Lacey within the Chehalis Western Trail, Interstate 5, College Street and Pacific Avenue that the city wants to turn into a mixed-use destination that would feel like a downtown and include residences.
Ryder is the second-generation owner of a chain of Shur-Kleen car wash businesses. He operates seven locations, making it the third largest car wash chain in the state, he said.
He had a little fun during the oath of office. City Attorney Dave Schneider administered the oath by beginning with “I, state your name.”
Ryder, a la comedian Mel Brooks, replied, “I, state your name.”
“I’ve always wanted to do that,” he said to a room full of laughter. He then repeated the oath and gave his real name.
Council members Hearn, Lenny Greenstein and Gadman also took the oath of office Thursday. The three incumbents retained their seats in the November election. Hearn and Greenstein ran unopposed, while Gadman defeated state worker Bill Frare.