POULSBO – John R. Bukowsky has decided to not accept the Poulsbo City Council position to which he was elected on Nov. 7.
That’s according to City Clerk Rhiannon Hernandez, who said the city attorney will advise the City Council on Dec. 6 on steps to be taken to fill the position before Jan. 1.
The position has been on a roller-coaster of a political ride. First, Jim Henry, a member of the council from 2000-07 and from 2009-17, announced he was retiring from the council because of health reasons. His term ends Dec. 31.
Bukowsky, senior director of a multinational software company, was the sole candidate on the ballot in the general election. But he then withdrew his candidacy, albeit too late to keep his name off the ballot. Abby Garland and William Mash filed to run as write-in candidates and participated in a televised forum sponsored by Kitsap News Group. Garland was focused on affordability issues and improving city and resident engagement; Mash was focused on bolstering the downtown economy and support for the arts.
But Bukowsky still won on Nov. 7, receiving 1,583 votes. Garland received 435 write-in votes, Mash 80.
As a result of the election, Bukowsky said he would consider taking the position. But he travels a lot for his company, and wanted to first meet with 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 Nov. 8 in a phone interview from Munich. “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.”
After meeting with City Council member Ed Stern to discuss the responsibilities entailed in the position, Bukowsky decided that he would not accept the position. Then, Henry died on Nov. 26.
It will be up to the council to appoint a new council member; the appointee would have to win election in the next general election to serve the remainder of the term.
After the Nov. 7 election, Garland said she planned to apply for appointment to the council. Mash said he would not apply.
The City Council meets on the first, second and third Wednesdays of the month, and council 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.
— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.