Interim Mayor JW Foster
Photo credit: City of Yelm
* City Council Position 3 to replace Bob Isom’s vacancy ends in a tie
* Interim Mayor Foster casts tie-breaking vote for Jen Littlefield
* Foster followed the script to the letter in wake of Harding’s departure
* Littlefield no-showed yet again and could not take her seat
* Six candidates applied for this position, 3 from JBLM
* This is 5th new Councilor seated within the last year
* Foster calls Pos. 1 & 3 choices “a place holder position”
* Interim Mayor Foster defined his position by this selection
* Foster flagrantly defied will of the voters to stay with “The Old Guard”
* Yelm voters get their say for mayor & 5 council positions in 2017
– In a flagrant show of bravado in the style of former Mayor Ron Harding,
Interim Mayor JW Foster was yet again in the position to cast a tie-breaking vote, this time to replace Bob Isom for City Council in choosing Jen Littlefield. Littlefield is a two-time loser from previous elections for City Council, having only been appointed by former Mayor Ron Harding as an interim councilor, from where voters rejected her in 2015. Littlefield was absent from the Yelm Chamber’s Candidates Forum in September 2015 and sent her daughter in her stead, due to what was described as her teaching duties as a school teacher in another town distant from Yelm. Last night, she no-showed again for the same reason, yet the City Council Agenda had scheduled the “Appointment to fill Council Position #3 unexpired term, Oath of Office for Council Position” and to seat the appointee, which Foster said would be administered at a later date.
Her absence was VERY revealing.
– Six Yelm citizens stepped-up to the plate in dedication to public service,
4 in-audience last night: Jim Helms, Scott Bradley, Scott Bannister and Terry Kaminski.
Each were asked by Interim Mayor Foster to provide a 3 minute statement as to their qualifications and intent for running for this position. All had applied and not been chosen by Foster for position 1, which went to EJ Curry. All articulated very well, however Scott Bradley came with his prepared text of specifics of what he would attempt to achieve on the Council, and in being a representative for the people. Every person in-audience was not only moved by Bradley’s delivery, yet his passion, preparedness, thoughtfulness, experience from the military, and genuine desire to serve. Everyone thought he would definitely be selected, yet when the Council’s Executive Session ended after 7 minutes of the scheduled 15 minutes, I “read the tea leaves” that there was a split vote and Foster was going to choose Littlefield. Lest anyone think differently, this all followed the script in the wake of the Harding & Isom resignations, alluded to several times on this Blog, and as recently as Monday, October 10th.
– In what has now become the norm,
the three progressive councilors (Carmody, Stillwell, DePinto) all won the 2015 election defeating long-time city hall incumbents on platforms of open government, transparency and following public process voted for candidate Scott Bradley, while “The Old Guard” councilors (Curry, Wood, Hendrickson) and interim mayor all voted for Littlefield:
* Councilor Carmody expressed her disappointment in describing what she termed was a “lack of foresight and respect for the citizens of Yelm.”
* Councilor Stillwell thanked all of the candidates for their willingness to serve, encouraging all to run on the Nov. 2017 ballot.
* Councilor Wood thanked the candidates and supported the choice of Littlefield, lessening the impact of Foster’s decision by saying she was only “just a seat-filler.” [for one year until the Nov. 2017 voters decide in that election]
* Councilor DePinto made an eloquent statement saying that many think that government knows best, rather than the people, except that should be the other way around. DePinto said people come first and voters had spoken in twice rejecting Littlefield with their ballots. He beseeched the council they should be listening to the people, saying “we are here to serve to people and not our own interests.” Clearly, he, too disapproved of Foster’s selection.
* Interim Mayor Foster said, “My vote is for the best interests of the City of Yelm. Jen Littlefield has experience on the council and can hit the ground running as we take-up several important issues [the city’s budget] in the next 3 months. I made the best decision at the time for the citizens of Yelm.”
– Editor’s Note:
If Littlefield missed expressing her platform to the community at the Yelm Chamber Forum in 2015, was absent to present her own statement to council and subsequent appointment last night, followed by the required Oath of Office for Position 3 seat, what makes Foster believe this would be an acceptable candidate to “hit the ground running” to fill the immense shoes of Bob Isom?
Foster’s stance that Littlefield would “hit the ground running” rings hollow to this Blogger.
She has not been involved with Council for a year and had to previously miss many daytime and other meetings due to teaching school when she was interim councilor. Will she miss important daytime budget meetings this Fall?
– UPDATE: October 14, 2016
Littlefield’s Facebook post highlights negative things will be said about her coming “from dark corners of negativity.” Let me be clear, Interim Mayor Foster’s choice to go against the voters’ will in twice rejecting a Littlefield candidacy, the second loss after she served on the council for a year, is my issue.
Foster acknowledged Bradley’s interests and attendance at council Study Sessions, Council meetings, and being informed on key issues. Bradley clearly enunciated his grasp of business fundamentals, city of Yelm challenges and a passion to immediately tackle the tough and important tasks ahead of the council. Bradley would clearly not be “just a seat-filler,” yet an integral component of the council for years to come, yet Foster bowed to the past in choosing Littlefield.
Further, Interim Mayor Foster was quoted in the Nisqually Valley News (NVN),
‘Because of the timing of this position that it’s a place holder position for one year until the voters will have their voice in November and because we have such important stuff coming with the new administrator and budget cycle, I will break the tie in favor of EJ Curry,’ Foster said.”
EJ Curry told the Nisqually Valley News, “I am a placeholder.”
Council Position 1 and 3 are called “just a seat-filler” or “a place holder position.”
This is VERY troublesome coming from Councilor Wood, Councilor Curry, and Interim Mayor Foster. This demotes they don’t take public process with due candor. Putting Scott Bradley in Position 3 would have demonstrated foresight, having our military constituents on the council, avoiding a Littlefield defeat next year for the third time, and he would not be “just a seat-filler” or in “a place holder position,” rather for the long-haul.
– Bottom line:
IF Interim Mayor Foster intends to run for Mayor in 2017, he sealed his destiny last night,
as he clearly demonstrated he is not a representative of the poeple, rather beholding to what has been termed the interests “The Old Guard” in the manner of former Mayor Ron Harding. Foster will lose decisively against mayoral candidate Joe DePinto next year, who I encourage to follow-through as he previously stated in his interest to run for mayor in 2017. The time has come and the city needs a true leader in DePinto!
Foster will not lose because of this Blogger’s views, rather at his own hand by his actions. The world of social media will be abuzz, and especially that three experienced military candidates were snubbed, and two of them denied a council seat twice. What is happening in the Presidential election is echoing here locally! The public wants candor and truth, not the Establishment’s hidden agendas. Same here in Yelm.
Interim Mayor Foster is also nothing more than “a place-holder!”
He is as predictable as the Old Faithful Geyser in following the post-Harding script.
While he has a warmth about him far beyond Harding’s, his words touting transparency, a more open government, and being inclusive of the public, all rest on a foundation of shifting sands which are far too easily undermined and outweighed by his actions. 2016 has been a year of remarkable change on the council, with a new Interim Mayor and 5 new Councilors. 2017 will be the year of the people of Yelm, as they will have their say on their ballots as to the direction they want this town to go!
While I appreciate everyone’s service in city government, with this decision of Foster’s last night, this line from The Doors “Five to One” lyrics is applicable,
“Your ballroom days are over, baby. Night is drawing near.”