By Laurelle Walsh
Town council members elected in the Nov. 5 election do not begin work until Jan. 1, even if elected to a currently vacant seat, according to Winthrop Clerk/Treasurer Michelle Gaines.
Gaines confirmed this with the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office on Monday (Sept. 16), following up on questions that were raised by the resignation of council member Tiffany Langdalen at the Sept. 4 Winthrop Town Council meeting.
Langdalen’s seat, Position 2, expires on Dec. 31 and is already on the November ballot. It is expected to be filled by Michael Strulic, the only person running for the seat. However Strulic won’t be sworn in until after the first of the year, leaving a council vacancy that must be filled by appointment within 90 days.
“The council will have to decide what they want to do about the vacancy at their meeting on Wednesday [Sept. 18],” Gaines said.
One option would be for Strulic to apply for the temporary appointment, serve the unexpired term, and then be sworn in for the new four-year term in January, Gaines said.
Two other council positions also expire at the end of the year, Position 1, currently held by Rick Northcott, and Position 4, held by Sue Langdalen. Northcott is running for reelection against challenger Vern Herrst.
No names are on the ballot for Position 4. That seat will have to be filled by appointment at the end of Sue Langdalen’s term, Gaines said.
The office of mayor, currently held by Dave Acheson, also expires on Dec. 31. Sue Langdalen is running unopposed for that office, her second time as mayor of Winthrop if elected.