In the first Spokane Valley City Council vote of the year – and a split one at that – Rod Higgins was chosen to continue to hold the gavel as mayor.
The same voting bloc also picked Pamela Haley to be the new deputy mayor, taking over for Arne Woodard.
The three newest council members elected in November – Ben Wick, Brandi Peetz and Linda Thompson – supported Wick first as mayor and then as the deputy mayor. They lost to the four incumbents: Woodard, Higgins, Haley and Sam Wood.
Higgins narrowly won re-election in the general election and has been mayor since 2016. He was first appointed to fill a vacant council seat in 2013, famously winning a coin-toss over Thompson to break a tie vote.
Higgins previously was on the Planning Commission and is the retired director of the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals.
In the Spokane Valley council-manager form of government, the mayor is chosen by a majority of the council and not by voters. It is a largely ceremonial role, presiding over the council and representing the city at various civic events.
Haley, a local business owner, was appointed to the council last year. She won re-election along with Higgins in November.