Spokane Valley City Council members now know what boards and committees they will serve on this year.
However, one new member – Bob McCaslin – won’t serve on any because he specifically asked not to be assigned to any by Mayor Tom Towey.
“I respected his view,” Towey said.
The council board assignments were approved at the Jan. 12 council meeting, the last meeting McCaslin attended before joining his colleagues in Olympia. McCaslin has served as a state senator since 1980 and must be excused by the rest of the council during his absences at regular meetings in Spokane Valley.
With McCaslin out of the picture and three longtime council members – Rich Munson, Diana Wilhite and Dick Denenny – no longer present, the long slate of boards and committees those members served on now largely boast a rookie roster of Spokane Valley representatives.
While Towey initially thought he “would have a problem” finding someone to fill each position, he said that turned out not to be the case.
“I did try to select (posts) for everyone where their interests lie,” Towey said. “Some of the (previous) council people had been there a while.”
For example, Denenny had been a member of the Spokane Regional Health District board since 2003. Denenny – who chose to not run again for office last November – will be replaced by Rose Dempsey, who has been anxious to have more board assignments. She will serve on the health board with Bill Gothmann.
Another longtime council member, Gary Schimmels, is finding himself back on a board that he started out on after Spokane Valley incorporated. Schimmels will take Diana Wilhite’s spot on the Spokane Regional Transportation Council. Wilhite had been slated to become the chairwoman of the council in 2010 but that became waylaid after Wilhite was defeated by Brenda Grassel in the general election.
For her part, Grassel will take on five board assignments – the most of any council member next to Towey. Grassel will serve on the Chamber of Commerce board, the Convention and Visitors Bureau board, the Growth Management Steering Committee, the International Trade Alliance Board and the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
Towey will be a part of the council’s Finance Committee and another group that oversees the city’s Governance Manual. He will also serve on the Spokane Transit Authority board – an assignment of Denenny and Munson – and the committee that advises on the dispersal of tourism-promotion taxes collected by area hotels and motels (TPA/Hotel Advisory Committee). Finally, he will serve on the Wastewater Policy Advisory Board.
Schimmels, who only served on the Solid Waste Advisory Board in 2009, picks up spots on the Finance Committee, STA board and SRTC.
Dempsey will continue to serve on the board for the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency along with the health board and Wastewater Policy Advisory Board.
Dean Grafos, who beat council-appointee Ian Robertson in the general election, will be the representative from the city to Greater Spokane Inc. and serve on the Growth Management Steering Committee. He will also serve on the city’s Finance Committee.
Bill Gothmann will continue to serve on the health board and take over for Munson on the Emergency Communications/9-1-1 Board. He will also oversee the Governance Manual and have seats on the STA board, TPA/Hotel Advisory Committee and Spokane County Housing and Community Development Board.
Gothmann said he is not concerned about the workload of the committees and boards – which come with no extra pay for council members – but is “disappointed” that McCaslin chose not to take on any extra assignments.
“I took the job to serve the city to the best of my ability,” Gothmann said. “We should all do the work.”