Camas begins accepting mayoral applications

Appointee will serve until end of year unless elected to full term in November

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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Camas officials began accepting applications today for the city’s vacant mayor’s seat.

The city’s longtime mayor, Paul Dennis, served his last day Tuesday before stepping down to head the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association. Mayor pro tem Scott Higgins will serve as mayor until the city council makes a formal appointment.

Applications for the mayoral opening must be filed at Camas City Hall by 5 p.m. June 21. Candidate interviews will be performed June 27. The council will hold an executive session before voting to appoint its next mayor the same night.

The Camas mayor position will once again be up for grabs on November’s election ballot.

Dennis served as Camas’ mayor for nearly eight years. His company, Cascade Planning Group, will be charged with increasing business growth and retention in Camas, Washougal and the Port of Camas-Washougal.

Camas and Washougal officials are expected to vote on the economic development association’s formation at their June 6 meetings. The Port of Camas-Washougal’s board will vote on the matter June 7.

Camas mayoral candidates must be registered voters in Camas and have lived in Camas continuously for at least a year prior to appointment to the council, according to the application.

They must answer three written questions on the application. The questions include the candidates’ five-year vision for the city, how they plan to address budgetary difficulties and their thoughts on transparency in government.

The candidates will serve from June 27 to Dec. 31 and receive a monthly stipend of $1,300, according to application papers. If they attend to run for election this fall, they must file between June 6-10. Higgins is the only council member who has indicated he would run for the short-term mayoral appointment and the four-year election. By virtue of his current mayor pro tem title, he will serve as mayor until June 27.

Higgins’ fellow councilors interviewed for this story expressed support for his candidacy.

“Scott’s going to be a great candidate,” councilman Tim Hazen said.

“I think everybody is happy on the council with the way things are,” councilwoman Melissa A. Smith said, noting she would support Higgins.

Neither Hazen nor Smith said they planned to run for the mayoral appointment.

Greg Anderson and Don Chaney were not eligible to run because they participated on the committee that selected questions to ask mayoral candidates.

“I will take the best candidate, as far as the process goes,” Anderson said.

@NormalParagraphStyle:Councilors Linda Dietzman and Steve Hogan did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday afternoon.

Ray Legendre: ray.legendre@columbian.com; 360-735-4517, http://www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; http://www.facebook.com/raylegend.