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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Vancouver City Council to interview 6 to fill Topper’s seat

Selected candidates aim to fill vacancy left by councilor’s election as county treasurer

By Katy Sword, Columbian politics reporter
Published: January 7, 2019, 7:57pm

The Vancouver City Council will interview six candidates to fill a vacancy next week.

The vacancy was created when former Councilor Alishia Topper resigned Dec. 31 after being elected to serve as Clark County treasurer.

Diana Perez, Erik Paulsen, Audrey Mattoon, David Regan, Maureen Montague and Adam Aguilera will be interviewed for the position Jan. 14. The council picked the group of candidates Monday evening.

They were selected from a pool of 18 applicants. The previous vacancy, filled by Councilor Laurie Lebowsky, netted 56 candidates.

The candidates were selected after the council discussed qualifications in executive session Monday. Each councilor was given the opportunity to nominate one candidate to move forward, which is the same process used in 2018.

Perez was nominated first by Lebowsky. Perez works for the USDA Forest Service, and serves as a commissioner for Washington State Parks and Recreation. She’s also state director of League of United Latin American Citizens and founded a local chapter. Perez is also a member of Stronger Vancouver, a community group tasked with developing a sustainable funding plan for the city.

Lebowsky cited Perez’s medley of experience as justification for her nomination.

Next, Councilor Linda Glover nominated Erik Paulsen. Paulsen serves as chair of the city’s Planning Commission and is senior vice president of wealth management strategy for U.S. Bancorp Investments. Paulsen was a finalist for Lebowsky’s position last year, for which Glover also nominated him.

Councilor Ty Stober put Audrey Mattoon forward as a finalist. Mattoon works as director of delivery for Improvisations and serves on the Planning Commission. She was also recently elected as vice chair of the Clark County Democratic Party.

“I first had the opportunity to meet Miss Mattoon when we interviewed her for the Planning Commission and her background and expertise struck me at that point,” Stober said.

David Regan, CEO of Regan Bail Bonds, was nominated next by Councilor Bill Turlay.

“I was impressed with not only his knowledge of issues that are before the council but the depth in working with people who have problems with homelessness,” Turlay said.

Regan also volunteers with Giving Grace Ministries.

Councilor Bart Hansen put Executive Director of Columbia Springs Maureen Montague forward as a finalist.

Montague has also served on the city’s Strategic Plan Oversight Committee and participated in a review of Vancouver’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Plan.

Hansen referenced Montague’s history as a leader in the community and her dedication to the downtown arts community.

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Finally, Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle nominated Adam Aguilera, an English teacher at Heritage High School. Aguilera also serves as a board member for the Evergreen Education Association, the Ethnic Minority at Large member on the Washington Education Association board as well as a board member for Community Roots Collaborative.

McEnerny-Ogle cited his work with eastside neighborhood associations in addition to his experience as a teacher.

Interviews will begin at 4 p.m. Monday.

Each candidate will get 30 minutes to introduce themselves and answer questions. At the end of the interview process, the council will break into executive session to discuss the candidates once again and make a decision.

If the council selects a candidate for appointment Monday, the new councilor will be sworn in Jan. 28.

The appointee will need to run for election in November to retain the seat.

Columbian politics reporter