If you want a seat on the new Bend City Council without going through a grueling political campaign, be prepared to write an essay.

Because Sally Russell won the recent mayoral election with two years of her City Council term left, councilors will appoint a replacement to finish her term.

Russell and Councilor Bruce Abernethy met with city staff and councilor-elect Gena Goodman-Campbell this week to talk about how that appointment process will work.

Their plan calls for council hopefuls to submit application forms and letters explaining why they’re interested. If the rest of the City Council OKs this process during its next meeting on Dec. 5, the application period could open the next day even though the seat won’t officially be vacant until Russell is sworn in as mayor on Jan. 2.

“That will give you some lead time so you’re not starting from scratch on Jan. 2,” City Manager Eric King told the group.

The application period would close on Jan. 4, a Friday. The councilors would have that weekend to review applications and send King their lists of top five candidates.

From there, the council would have a special meeting on Jan. 8 to decide which candidates move ahead to public interviews. Those interviews would take place the following week, possibly during the work session prior to the regular Jan. 16 meeting.

The City Council could appoint its new member that night or hold another special meeting the following week if it needed more time to deliberate.

Russell and Abernethy supported using the same application the city uses for its advisory committees. That application, available online, asks for basic biographical information, employment and volunteer history.

It also includes two short-answer questions about why applicants want to serve on the committee and what special skills they would bring.

In addition to that application, they want council hopefuls to write a letter further explaining why they want to serve. Russell said the extra step matters because the council position is so important.

“This is a really important position for our community,” she said. “I expect investment on the front end because we’re going to need a lot of work on the back end.”

The new councilor will jump right into setting Bend’s goals and budget for the next two years and needs to be prepared for that, Russell said.

“I’d like to see someone who represents the entire committee more completely, and someone who can come in as a colleague on city issues,” she said.

Abernethy said he’s looking for applicants who represent the entire community.

“We’re looking for someone that’s collaborative and a team player,” he said. “If I’m not seeing this, I’m not going to score you highly.”

Abernethy, Russell, Goodman-Campbell and Councilors Barb Campbell, Justin Livingston and Bill Moseley will be part of the 2019-20 City Council.

Mayor Casey Roats and Councilor Nathan Boddie will leave at the end of December because they chose not to run for re-election.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160; jshumway@bendbulletin.com

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