Unique position for Poulsbo City Council candidate

Write-in candidate Abby Garland must outpoll John R. Bukowsky, who withdrew his candidacy

POULSBO — Abby Garland is in a unique position in Poulsbo city politics.

She is a write-in candidate for Jim Henry’s Poulsbo City Council position and, as of Oct. 12, the only candidate seeking the office.

But in order to win, she must get more votes than John R. Bukowsky, who is on the ballot but withdrew his candidacy. If she’s not the top vote-getter on Nov. 7, she’ll have to apply for appointment, if she so desires.

Council member Jeff McGinty, the senior member of the council, said Oct. 9 that if Bukowsky is the winner of the election, the council will begin the process of recruiting candidates for appointment so a new member is selected by the council and is ready to take office soon after Henry’s term ends on Dec. 31.

Henry, 80, is retiring after 25 years as a council member and planning commissioner, but he is expected to stay involved as the city’s liaison to the Suquamish Tribe.

Council members are elected to four-year terms. They set policies, adopt ordinances and approve the budget. Council members each receive $700 a month.

Bukowsky, team manager at a software company, withdrew his candidacy too late to keep his name off the ballot. He wrote in the Kitsap County Voters’ Pamphlet: “Due to personal circumstances I am no longer able to serve as a City Council member in the capacity that the position deserves. While I will not be on the City Council, I hope to be active in the community and provide my skills to the council and to the elected mayor. Many thanks to all who have provided me with such fantastic support and encouragement.”

Bukowsky did not return a phone call for comment.

Garland was not available for a morning interview Oct. 12, and directed Kitsap News Group to her Facebook page, Abby Garland for Poulsbo City Council.

On it, she wrote that she is a stay-at-home mom with three children, and her husband is a military reservist and a full-time federal law enforcement officer. “Our family is well acquainted with public service, and believes that the opportunity to serve our communities is a great privilege, responsibility, and honor,” she wrote.

Garland has a bachelor of science in culinary arts and nutrition from Johnson and Wales University and a master’s in post-secondary education. She is an accredited and registered dietitian.

“My education, faith, work experience, and primary role as mom form the strong foundation of my interest in the areas of public health, nutrition, education, and parks and recreation,” she wrote. “I believe diversity of representation on the City Council is much needed, and very important. Representation encourages participation, and healthy, happy communities have active involved residents of all ages, ethnicities, genders and backgrounds.

“I look forward to representing all the residents of Poulsbo and especially young families as this great town continues to successfully navigate growth and expansion, while honoring and preserving what makes it such a wonderful place to live.”

Eight candidates withdrew this year

Bukowsky is one of eight candidates countywide to withdraw their candidacies, and one of three in the general election to withdraw after the deadline to have their names removed from the ballot.

Steve Garfein, founder of a company that manufactures testing equipment for the electronics industry, was late in withdrawing his candidacy for the board of commissioners of Kitsap County Fire Protection District 18, aka Poulsbo Fire, leaving Jeff Uberuaga as the lone candidate.

“I have chosen to withdraw my candidacy for Kitsap County Fire District No. 18, Commissioner Position 3,” Garfein wrote in the voters’ pamphlet. “I regret that currently I am unable to devote the time necessary to be an effective Commissioner.

Judith McLaughlin withdrew her candidacy for a Bainbridge Island School Board position, leaving Mike Spence the lone candidate.

“Due to unforeseen demands on my time, I will no longer be able to fulfill the requirements of this position and would like to withdraw my candidacy,” McLaughlin wrote in the voters’ pamphlet. “Thank you to all of those who supported me along the way.”

All told, there are 64 positions countywide on the Nov. 7 ballot, among them mayor of Bremerton and Poulsbo; city council positions in Bainbridge, Bremerton, Port Orchard and Poulsbo; and boards of fire protection districts, parks and recreation districts, port commissions, school districts, and utility districts.

Write-in candidates must register their candidacies with the Kitsap County Auditor’s Elections Office. To keep tabs on write-in candidacies, go to https://spf.kitsapgov.com/auditor/Pages/2017_writein_candidates.aspx.

— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at rwalker@soundpublishing.com