POULSBO — John R. Bukowsky, the ex-candidate who on Nov. 7 was elected to Poulsbo City Council Position 7, said he wants to speak to the mayor and City Council before deciding whether he’ll take office.
“I’m honored. Highly honored,” he said of his election, which came even though he had withdrawn his candidacy.
Earlier in the campaign season, he had notified Mayor Becky Erickson by email, and the state Public Disclosure Commission by letter, that he was withdrawing his candidacy. His withdrawal came past the deadline to keep his name off the ballot, so he wrote in the Kitsap County Voters Pamphlet that he was “no longer able to serve as a City Council member in the capacity that the position deserves,” citing “personal circumstances.”
His withdrawal sparked write-in candidacies from two local residents — Abby Garland and William Mash — but they managed to attract 140 votes between them. Bukowsky, meanwhile, received 1,041 votes, according to updated election results released Nov. 8. He credited that to the fact that his name was the only one on the ballot.
Bukowsky indicated Nov. 8 he’s considering accepting the position. He said he’ll determine his next course of action after he speaks to the mayor and council.
“As I stated before, my work commitments [and] personal commitments have changed in a way that I feel I can’t serve in a way that the position deserves,” he said. “I just need to speak with the mayor and council first. The community deserves a lot of support, deserves a lot of support from a City Council person who can be there. I’m very sensitive to that.”
Bukowski is senior director of Citrix Global Solutions, a multinational software company. He called Kitsap News Group Nov. 9 from Munich — he was in Munich when the Poulsbo City Council met the night before — and was getting ready to catch a flight to Amsterdam and then a flight to Seattle on Nov. 10.
Erickson, who was elected Nov. 7 to a third term, said her understanding is that if Bukowsky’s election is certified, he would have to submit a letter of resignation if he chooses not to take office. The City Council would then begin the process of recruiting and interviewing applicants for appointment to the position.
At this point, she said, “I’m assuming he’s been elected to the position.”
The City Council meets on the first, second and third Wednesdays of the month, although members also serve on city committees — Capital Improvement Planning, Community Services, Economic Development, Finance/Administration, Lodging Tax Advisory, Public Safety/Legal, and Public Works. Members are also appointed to serve as liaisons to the Suquamish Tribe, Port of Poulsbo, and Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.
State law authorizes a city council to remove a council member who fails to attend three consecutive regular council meetings without being excused by the council. Erickson said council members periodically do miss meetings, but it might be possible for Bukowsky to participate in a meeting by Skype; city staff members who live on the Olympic Peninsula participated in a council meeting by Skype when the Hood Canal Bridge was closed, she said. “So, it’s a possibility we could do that as well [for Bukowsky],” she said.
“The council meets three Wednesdays a month for two or three hours. My hope would be that he would be able to arrange his schedule around that. If he misses a meeting, well, we all miss a meeting once in a while. The question is, is there a willingness to do the homework and be involved.”
— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.