By Lou Marzeles
Edited version of story used with permission. Read the complete detailed story in this week’s Sentinel.
The only note of controversy arising from Monday’s special meeting of the Goldendale city council occurred in the audience when a motion was passed by the council to go into a brief executive session.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Carmen Knopes was elected by the council to fill Mike Canon’s seat vacated when he became mayor.
When the council left the room to go into executive session, many faces in the audience were clouded with doubt.
“What are they doing?” asked Deanna Luth, herself a council member but recused from the selection process because her former husband was one of the candidates. “They’re going in to discuss the qualifications of the candidates? They’ve been listening to them for an hour and a half.” Others voiced concern over what appeared to be a lack of transparency.
Seven candidates had volunteered for the vacant position. Six showed up and were questioned. There was a sole no-show, Darlene Williamson. The six present were Mike Goodwin, Terry Luth, Knopes, Sue Ward, Elaynna James, and Arletta Parton.
Four council members were present to form a quorum and vote on the candidates: Gary Hoctor, Andy Halm, Len Crawford, and Lucille Bevis. The meeting was led by the mayor and facilitated by City Administrator Larry Bellamy.
The council went through a first round of voting in which three votes were cast for Knopes, two each for Luth and James, and one for Parton. Agreement was reached to go another round for the top three vote-getters in order to break the second-place tie, whereupon councilman Crawford moved to go into executive session. Bellamy reminded the council that RCWs permitted such an executive session but only for the purpose of discussing candidate qualifications. Upon the council’s return, another vote was taken, this time resulting in four votes for Knopes and a tie again for Luth and James with two votes each. Discussion began on whether or not to do another round of voting when Halm moved to simply elect Knopes. The motion passed, and she was then elected unanimously.