Two candidates presented their case before the Aberdeen City Council Wednesday night to fill the seat in the 5th Ward held by the late John Erak. The council agreed to postpone the election of the appointee to the seat until Dec. 30 at the behest of Mayor Bill Simpson so that Council President Kathi Hoder, who was absent, could vote.
Erak died last summer, but he had already filed for election and his name remained on the ballot. Alan Richrod had also filed but Erak received more votes in the general election.
Though he lost, Richrod, who held the seat briefly after being appointed by the council in the wake of Erak’s death, is going for the seat again. Richrod is being challenged by the son of Mayor Simpson, William Simpson.
Both men made their presentation at the beginning of the meeting. Richrod praised Erak and said it was his aim to help build a great city. He talked about the churn of business failures, but said it was the council’s job to persevere with efforts to improve the downtown core.
Simpson said he was a bit nervous and announced he was the son of the mayor and joked his father comes to council meetings to escape discussions with his son and family about city business. He also greeted his nine-year-old daughter who was sitting next to Finance Director Kathryn Skolrood on the dais. He then launched into some of the changes he’d like to help councilmembers make in the city.
They included helping the downtown core and waterfront realize their potential. He envisioned seeing an Amazon warehouse where Weyerhaeuser properties used to be, taking advantage of an educated workforce.
He also wanted to see a taste of Aberdeen type festival added to Splash, providing space for more food vendors. He said he has “lots of time and energy to spend” on council and said he’d have a 24/7 phone policy.
Richrod works at the new Seaport Authority’s spar shop and has several small business projects going. Simpson is studying accounting at Grays Harbor College and worked for 10 years as a policeman in Ruston, near Tacoma, he said.
The council election, known as an appointment to election authorities, is good for two years, or until 2015. Then a general election for another two years, the remainder of Erak’s original four year term is held per state and county rules.
The next city council meeting is on Monday, Dec. 30, because the next Wednesday evening council meeting falls on Christmas Day.