Council bids farewell to colleagues, seeks applicants for 2 vacant seats

The Federal Way City Council. Pictured left to right: Jim Ferrell, Susan Honda, Bob Celski, Jeanne Burbidge, Skip Priest, Dini Duclos, Roger Freeman, Linda Kochmar. - Courtesy of the City of Federal Way
The Federal Way City Council. Pictured left to right: Jim Ferrell, Susan Honda, Bob Celski, Jeanne Burbidge, Skip Priest, Dini Duclos, Roger Freeman, Linda Kochmar.
— image credit: Courtesy of the City of Federal Way

With Roger Freeman and Linda Kochmar heading to Olympia beginning in January, the Federal Way City Council took the time to honor its two outgoing members at the Dec. 4 meeting.

Kochmar and Freeman each received a plaque from the city for their service, along with a number of kind comments from their colleagues on the council.

“We’ve actually been friends for 10 years, had cases against each other, and he’s a great defender, an eloquent defender,” said Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell of Freeman. “I think he’s going to be a great advocate for our community. He’s been a tireless advocate while on the council. He really has a passion for the underdog, and we’re going to miss you my friend.”

Mayor Skip Priest shared a few thoughts on Kochmar, who has been a member of the city government in some form or another since 1998.

“Linda has, as many of you know, been the deputy mayor twice, also the mayor, and I think some of the hidden value of council members like Linda is … (she’s) provided wonderful and very important service on regional organizations that don’t get the credit in the newspapers or on television,” Priest said. “As a spokesperson for our city, on these major regional organizations, Linda has done an outstanding job and we’re very appreciative of her leadership, not only in our community, but on behalf of our community in so many areas.”

Councilmember Dini Duclos wished the duo well, saying she knows they’ll continue to carry on their excellent history of service for the community.

“I want to wish my two colleagues all the best down in Olympia. I’m a little upset with Roger, because now I’m going to have to break somebody else in,” she said. “But I forgive him for that because I know you’ll serve the citizens of Federal Way, and the citizens of this state, very well. I look forward to working with both of you down in Olympia.”

Councilmember Jeanne Burbidge echoed Duclos’ thoughts.

“It’s been an enjoyable time working with both of you, in particular, Linda and I have served almost 15 years together on the council,” she said. “I wish both of you all the best in your new roles, and I know you’ll do very well in representing the 30th District and Federal Way, and you’ll be certainly hearing from me frequently.”

Kochmar recalled her first days as a member of city council, and all the things that have happened since. She also thanked the citizens.

“The real treasure in this city,” she said, “is not the buildings, it’s not our beautiful parks, it’s not the people sitting at the dais. It’s you. The people who have stepped forward over and over to volunteer, and I thank you for that, and thank you for letting me be a part of it.”

Freeman recalled his father, Roger Freeman, and grandfather, Edward Woodruff, and the spirit of service they instilled.

“Those two men really set the example of service, of community service,” he said. “I remember my grandfather would always do stuff for neighbors, and never take a dime. And my father, I remember growing up, would always feed every kid in the neighborhood. He would always open the doors of our family house to anybody who was in need. Just setting that example was very important to me, because it showed me that, to be a man, that giving back to your community was very important.”

Council appointments

The city began taking applications on Dec. 5 to fill the open seats left by Kochmar and Freeman. Applications must be received by Dec. 21, and the council’s appointments will be made in January.

Whoever is selected will serve through Dec. 31, 2013, and can then choose to seek re-election or leave the position.

Applications for the council vacancies can be found at; at City Hall, 33325 8th Ave. S.; the King County Library, 342000 1st Ave. S.; or the Federal Way School District Administration building, which is across the street from City Hall.

Councilmembers receive a monthly salary of $1,150 and a $475 monthly contribution to a medical expenses plan. To be eligible, applicants must be a registered voter, provide proof of residency, and have lived in Federal Way city limits for one year. Contact (253) 835-2540 or email


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