By Doug Petrowski
Bryan Wahl, a 13-year veteran of the city’s Planning Commission, was selected Tuesday night by the Mountlake Terrace City Council to fill the vacant Council Position 5. Wahl will be sworn in at the council’s next regular meeting Monday, Aug. 20.
Wahl is a partner at Government Affairs Strategies, a consulting group that helps business clients with public, political or governmental campaigns and strategies. He is a 1992 graduate of the University of Washington and has lived in Mountlake Terrace for 15 years. Wahl was selected over eight other applicants for the council position that was vacated by Michelle Robles, who resigned June 28.
Although the final council vote was 6-0 for Wahl, it came after an initial round of voting that was split between Wahl and two other applicants — Kimberly Michel and Cheryal Heppner. None of the three received a majority of council votes in the first vote; in the second round Mayor Jerry Smith changed his vote from Michel to Wahl to give Wahl the necessary four votes to earn the appointment.
“This was a tough decision,” Mayor Smith said at the conclusion of the two-and-a-half hour meeting. “Even as hardcore as I am, this was a toughie.”
The nine applicants were interviewed individually by the councilmembers prior to the appointment; since the interviews were conducted in alphabetical order, Wahl was the final applicant considered. “I’ve been excited about the direction our city has been taking for a number of years,” Wahl said during his interview. “I look forward to continuing to be a part of it.”
Wahl expects to be able to jump right into council business easily. “My background, and everything I do, lives and breathes public policy,” he explained. “I understand what issues we are dealing with and I enjoy working through those issues.”
In addition to his recent experience on the city’s Planning Commission and his private consulting job in public policy work, Wahl has also served on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Growth Management Policy Board, various boards of the National Association of Realtors and the Association of Washington Business, the King County Youth Services Citizens Advisory Committee and the Shoreline Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners.
Wahl will serve on the City Council for about 14 months, until a special election is conducted for the position in November 2013 and the results are certified. When asked if he will run in that election for council Position 5, Wahl replied: “That is my intention, yes.”