Paine-Donovan appointed to vacant Mountlake Terrace City Council seat

Robert (Rory) Paine-Donovan during his council interview Monday night.

The Mountlake Terrace City Council Tuesday night appointed Robert (Rory) Paine-Donovan to fill the Position 3 seat left vacant following the resignation of Doug McCardle.

Paine-Donovan, who graduated from the Evergreen State College with a degree in public policy, has lived in Mountlake Terrace for seven years and works for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. He helped found the Mountlake Terrace Community Foundation and serves on the city’s planning commission.

Councilmembers voted to appoint Paine-Donovan after a one-and-half-hour executive session, during which they discussed the merits of all 11 candidates they interviewed on Monday and Tuesday night.

To narrow the field after coming out of executive session, the council first voted on their top three candidates. During that first round, Paine-Donovan received six votes — one from each councilmember. Isaac Harrison, a member of the city’s civil service and planning commissions, earned five votes and William Paige, Jr., the chair of the city’s diversity, equity and inclusion commission, got four votes.

During a second round of voting, the council selected their top two candidates, during which Paine-Donovan earned six votes, Paige received five and Harrison got one.

Following that round, Councilmember Laura Sonmore moved to appoint Paine-Donovan, a motion that was approved by a 5-1 vote (Councilmember Steve Woodard voting no).

“What an awesome group of candidates that we had,” Woodard said after the council’s decision. “A very painful choice to have to choose and narrow it down to one.” Woodard noted that the residents will have a chance vote as well, when candidates seeking the Position 3 seat appear on the general election ballot.

Paine-Donovan’s appointment runs through the November general election. He would have to run for election to the seat in November to fill out the remainder of McCardle’s term, which ends in November 2025.

“This is one of those hard decisions that I do not like having to make,”said Councilmember Laura Sonmore. “I’m really proud of our citizens and the people who stepped up (to apply for the council seat). We had a lot of candidates and they were fabulous.”

Councilmember Rick Ryan complimented the candidates for the thoughtful answers they gave during their interviews, indicating that “they did their homework, and I wanted to thank them for that.”

During his interview with the council Monday night, Paine-Donovan noted that he has a strong interest in civic life and local government, and enjoys working on city issues.

“I want to be here because I care,” he said. “I want to continue doing the work.”


  1. MLT is an awesome little city and thanks to CM Paine-Donovan for stepping up to serve. He has an impressive background that will very likely help him succeed in office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.