Clark County to fill board vacancy May 27

Commissioners will hold interviews, appoint successor to Democrat Steve Stuart

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

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County commissioners have set the date to appoint someone to the vacant District 3 seat, and it will be after next week’s filing period ends.

Republicans David Madore and Tom Mielke are set to interview three Democrats and choose a new commissioner on May 27. The candidates, chosen by the local Democratic party, are former labor leader Ed Barnes, former Commissioner Craig Pridemore and Greater Clark County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kelly Love Parker.

The announcement answers the question of when the appointment will take place. Commissioners were given 60 days to make the appointment from the time former Democratic Commissioner Steve Stuart resigned on April 11. He left his elected position to become Ridgefield’s city manager.

The three appointment candidates were previously told the interviews could happen as early as next week, the filing period for local candidates interested in running for office. County candidates can file to run for office from May 12-16.

Pridemore, the Clark County Democratic Committee’s top pick for the appointment, said he hoped the appointment would take place during the filing period. The timing of the appointment isn’t expected to have a significant impact on his campaign plans, however. He’s already announced his intention to run for the District 3 seat. The current term expires at the end of the year, even if the commissioners don’t appoint him.

Axel Swanson, the county’s senior policy analyst, said there were multiple scheduling conflicts, which led to postponing the appointment. Some of the conflicts involved Pridemore, who works in Olympia and couldn’t make it down later next week, and Madore, who will be at a Regional Support Network meeting in Cowlitz County on Monday. Madore will be out of the county for several days after that.

“We have five very busy people and one (booked) hearing room,” Swanson said.

The interviews will be at 1 p.m. May 27, a Tuesday, in the county’s Hearing Room, on the sixth floor of the Public Service Building, 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver. The interviews will last one hour each, running from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will be open to the public and televised on CVTV cable channel 23 and online at CVTV.org.

If there is a unanimous decision regarding the appointment, a resolution will be passed certifying that person to fulfill the remainder of Stuart’s term in office, Swanson said. The chosen candidate will have their choice of time and place for the official swearing-in ceremony.