Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Sept. 22, 2021

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Acting Mayor Burton will continue to lead Camas through election

Council member was named acting mayor back in May


CAMAS — Ellen Burton, Camas’ acting mayor, will continue to lead the city for the next four months.

Camas City Council members voted unanimously Monday to appoint Burton as the city’s interim mayor.

Burton, an elected city council member who was named the city’s acting mayor in May after the unexpected resignation of then-Mayor Barry McDonnell, will remain in the mayoral position through the certification the Nov. 2 general election — when Camas voters will choose McDonnell’s replacement.

Only two people applied for the role of interim mayor.

City council members interviewed the two candidates — Burton and Jack Derington — during a special meeting Monday evening.

Derington, a regional manager and entrepreneur who moved with his family to Camas four years ago, said he wanted to see Camas “continue to flourish” while remaining the same “small town” people love.

“I see genuine improvements and progress (in Camas) and also see the challenges we face,” Derington wrote in his application to be considered as interim mayor.

Burton said she wanted to be “a caretaker” for Camas and provide a stable transition until Camas voters could elect their next mayor.

“I will work closely with the interim city administrator, department heads, city council and community to ensure stability and continuity,” Burton wrote in her application and re-stated on Monday evening, during the council’s interview process. “Since I do not have a political agenda, I will make collaborative, fact-based decisions for the benefit of the community and to ensure efficient and effective city operations.”

Asked by Councilman Don Chaney if she reconsidered her April decision to not run for reelection to the city council, Burton said she had struggled with the decision but ultimately felt her time on the city council and as acting mayor had been “a great learning opportunity” that she could use to benefit her community in another “volunteer service position,” though she did not yet know what that position might entail.

“It was a very hard decision,” Burton said. “My friends had to talk me down.”

Overall, Burton said, she believed the council should appoint her as interim mayor because she was “willing to step up and do the work.”

“I will have the courage, commitment and conviction to work with entire teams — the department heads, staff, council and the city administrator — to keep continuous calm and a professional manner to provide the services that our community expects,” Burton said.

After deliberating for about 20 minutes, the council, led by current Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hogan, voted 5-0 (with Hogan not voting) to appoint Burton to the position.

“We were lucky to have two very good candidates,” Hogan said.

The city attorney will swear Burton in during the council’s regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2.

The city has two candidates running in the November mayoral election: Hogan and Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce Director Jennifer Senescu.

Burton will serve as interim mayor until the results of the Nov. 2 general election have been certified.