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Eight vie for City Council seat
"A former Federal Way City Council member and a past candidate are among the eight people who have applied for a vacant seat as of Friday morning.Council member Phil Watkins resigned in mid-December, saying he expected his workload as a lobbyist to increase with an equally divided state Legislature. He also said he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Nancy, and their 9-year-old son, Michael. His resignation took effect Dec. 31.This would have been the last year of Watkins' second term on the City Council.City spokesman Derek Matheson declined to name the applicants this week. Under the state Open Public Records Act, government agencies are not required to release applications for public employment, including the names of applicants. Jan. 5 was the last day to submit applications.We just don't want to provide incomplete information until Friday comes, Matheson said.The City Council will interview candidates and pick one to replace Watkins on Tuesday. The new council member will be sworn in on Jan. 16, on his or her first council meeting. Some well-known faces say they have submitted applications. The applicants include Hope Elder, who lost her seat on the council to Linda Kochmar in the 1997 election, and Don Putman, who ran unsuccessfully in 1999 against Dean McColgan for the seat vacated by Jack Dovey.Putman, 45, has served on the Human Services Commission about a year but said he's excited at an opportunity to get a seat on the council. It was difficult losing his first bid for council, he said. It's almost like a second chance, he said.Putman said he'd offer the council a fresh perspective and a desire to build consensus among members. He also doesn't have a specific issue he's backing so he'd provide a wide-eyed approach to all issues.Elder, 63, said she called to apply on the first morning Watkins' resignation was announced. She, too, said she planned to run this fall but is excited about this earlier opportunity.She said she offers her trademark enthusiasm and the experience of a former council member who understands city issues. Given council members' lamenting losing Watkins' years of experience, she believes she offers what they need.I've not lost touch with any of the issues going on, she said. I've managed to keep my finger in the pot. "