With Don Gerend planning to step down in July as Sammamish mayor, due to personal business reasons, the City Council must select a new mayor the next meeting.
Gerend will remain on the Council as a member retaining a vote for his successor.
Bob Keller is deputy mayor, but under Council rules, he does not automatically succeed Gerend. A Council vote makes this decision.
(The mayor is selected by the Council, not the public, under the state laws governing Sammamish’s council-manager form of government., unlike Redmond and Issaquah in which the public directly votes for the mayor.)
Sammamish Comment supports elevating Keller to mayor for the rest of this year, the unexpired mayoral term for Gerend. Gerend and Keller decided not to seek reelection in November and each goes off the Council Dec. 31.
Keller has been deputy mayor since Jan. 1. He is, along with Gerend and City Manager Lyman Howard, part of the designated leadership team for the Council-Administration. Keller has been on several regional committees. He is the best choice for mayor for the remaining six months.
For deputy mayor, The Comment supports Christie Malchow. In the second year of her first term, Malchow proved to be a dynamo. She’s hard-charging, dedicated, she does her homework, she knows the issues and she’s become a strong citizen ombudsman who is pro-environment and slow growth.
Malchow wanted to be deputy mayor last January, but lost to Keller within the council vote. At that time, Members Tom Odell and Kathy Huckabay had praise for Malchow but noted she had been on the Council only two years. Keller’s long history of City involvement, including the Planning Advisory Board and Planning Commission, helped tip the majority vote to him then. Odell and Huckabay said Malchow should get more seasoning. She has it now.
Come July, the new team should be Keller and Malchow. Sammamish citizens will be well served for the remainder of this year by this combination.