Planning Commission member and Senior Center volunteer Kathryn Sprigg was chosen from among seven people who applied for the open Position 2 seat on the Ocean Shores City Council, including three who had applied for previous vacancies.
“I want to be part of the conversation about where we will be in the future,” Sprigg told the six sitting Council members who voted on the replacement.
Sprigg was nominated by Council member Jon Martin, who was chosen by random draw to make the first selection after an executive session. Sprigg immediately received the required four votes, with additional votes from Susan Conniry (who seconded the choice), Bob Peterson and Steve Ensley.
Position 2, which also is up for election this November, became open when Councilman Jeff Daniel was killed in a surfing accident just prior to the Feb. 25 Council meeting.
Several of the applicants made reference to the tragic loss of Daniel as an inspiration for their desire to fill his seat.
Those who have applied in the past included Sprigg, along with Richard Wills and David Linn. New to the application process were Eric Bejella, Tanya Roberts, Sara Sharp and Brian Ferguson.
In her opening remarks, Sprigg noted it had been a year since the Council began the process to replace another former member, Bob Crumpacker, whose death led to one of three vacancies in the past year. She pointed to her persistence in seeking the position and dedication to attending public meetings. One of her top priorities is planning for future growth, she said, also listing jetty erosion, lot clearing and quality of life issues.
“I think this is an exciting time in our town. I have felt it when I have gone to new business and met new residents. Our little city is changing,” Sprigg said.
Sprigg’s application outlined her background as an education researcher and instructor with a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy at Seattle University.
She said it was clear the Council “wanted to explore communications and how to reach out to the public. I believe I can bring my experience to that exploration.”
When asked, as one of the questions posed to all applicants, to define the role of a City Council member, Sprigg replied: “Represent the citizens, listen to the citizens.”
“You are the shepherd of the city’s business. You’re the representative of the citizens,” she added in an earlier answer about how to take over Daniel’s remaining term. She also acknowledged the position was difficult to fill because “Jeff was very well-known and well-loved.” That fact just “makes us more willing to work and represent our citizens.”
In stating her case for the job, Sprigg remarked: “Ask yourself, who shows up for events, Council meetings and other government gatherings? I do, and I love working with people.”
Here are excerpts from the other application letters:
• Eric Bejella, currently employed at the Bank of the Pacific, an Ocean Shores Pirate and active in stage productions and community organizations: “I am a versatile and seasoned professional who adapts well to rapidly changing environments. I believe I’m a strong team player/leader who excels in mediating among multiple divisions of large organizations and maintains productive relationships with staff, peers, and management.”
• Brain Ferguson, former Air Force response force leader who has had several local jobs: “Always prepared and ready for upcoming challenges and tasks.”
• David Linn, former manufacturing engineer, college instructor and real estate investment manager, and wildlife/environment advocate: “I moved to Ocean Shores more than 10 years ago because of its quiet, peaceful atmosphere and its closeness to nature and wildlife. I think there are important issues that face Ocean Shores and I believe that I could be helpful in working with the mayor and the other Council members to deal with them.”
• Tonya Roberts, local realtor and yoga instructor: “As a realtor, that is what I tell clients about our city. I love promoting Ocean Shores because I truly love this town. Because I love living here so much, I feel a responsibility to give back. And I have a lot to give.” “I have over a decade working on land use, stormwater, public health, and many other issues at the nexus of local government.”
• Sara Sharp, after a career in the Army, earned a Doctor of Education, now a substitute teacher: “It is important to me to find a way to serve the community I live in not just today but in times to come.”
• Richard Wills, former Army sergeant and member of the Planning Commission and Ocean Shores Fresh Waterways Corp.: “The city lost a valuable, ethical, knowledgeable, fully engaged, contributing citizen as a result of Jeff Daniel’s tragic accident. I can not replace him. However, I can bring my own honesty, critical thinking and decision-making skills, ethics, knowledge, and proclivity for researching issues before making decisions to the City Council to finish out this council term.”