Woodland Councilor Mike Benjamin wasn’t planning on running for re-election in November, and his time on the city council came to an earlier end than anticipated when he resigned his seat earlier this month.
Benjamin had filed to run again for Position 7 on the city council, but withdrew his name before Filing Week ended back in May.
In an email to Mayor Will Finn on July 14, Benjamin wrote, “I have enjoyed my service to the city of Woodland and would love to continue to serve the city, but my schedule continues to provide conflicts to the Monday night schedule such that I feel my absences have rendered me less than competent in my service.”
His resignation is effective July 31. This was Benjamin’s second time on council. He was appointed to council in 2015 but dropped his re-election bid. He was appointed to the council in 2018 after another resignation on the council.
The city is seeking applicants to fill in for a “short term.” Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter and a resident of the city for at least 12 months prior to appointment. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Aug. 2. More information on applying, including a link to the application, can be found on the city’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CityofWoodlandWA.
The tentative appointment date for the new councilor is Aug. 19. The term will continue through the certification of November’s general election. Once the election is certified, the person who won the November election will take office for a “short term,” and be sworn in immediately for a term that runs through the end of the year. That person will be sworn in again in January for a full term from the November election, according to Clark County Elections Supervisor Cathie Garber.
Garber said that since it is past Filing Week, whomever is appointed to the seat can’t appear on the November ballot, if the person who is appointed isn’t already on the ballot. Monte Smith was the only other applicant running for the seat on the November ballot. Smith didn’t return a call Friday afternoon to see if he planned on applying for the open seat.
A similar situation is playing out in Vancouver, as Michelle Giovannozzi announced in June that she’d be stepping down from Position 4 on the Vancouver Public Schools board. The board is slated to select her replacement by Aug. 21, just weeks after the Aug. 6 primary election, when 12 people are running for three seats on the school board. One of the candidates issued a petition to the others to not apply for the open seat so as to not affect the primary election. It has been a hotly contested issue this summer at Vancouver schools.