This is a developing story and will be updated.
Federal Way City Council member Erica Norton abruptly announced her resignation, to the surprise of some fellow council members, during the May 16 council meeting.
The announcement came at the end of the four-hour meeting. Norton had been active and participating prior to her departure. During councilmember reports, Mayor Jim Ferrell asked Norton if she had anything to share.
“I’d like to issue my resignation from the city council, effective immediately,” Norton replied. “And I’m leaving.”
“What?” councilmember Susan Honda responded. “Are you serious?”
“Bye, everybody,” Norton said. “I’m out of here.”
Norton then collected her possessions and exited the council chambers.
“I’m speechless,” Honda said. She and Ferrell later thanked Norton for her service to the city.
Norton gave no indication as to the reason of her resignation. The Mirror has attempted to reach her for comment.
Mayor Ferrell confirmed in a phone interview Tuesday morning that Norton’s resignation had immediate effect. The city website has already been updated to show that her position is vacant.
“I want to thank Erica for her service to our community as a councilmember for the past year and a half,” Ferrell said. “Serving as an elected official is a very rewarding and challenging experience, and we appreciate her service to our community.”
Norton had proposed, in previous meetings, a new model for dealing with drug addiction in the city, and had shared concerns at recent meetings that her proposal was not being taken seriously by the rest of the council and that her ideas were being sidelined and ignored.
Ferrell said he had no idea Norton would be resigning that night, and no idea why she decided to resign. There had, however, been a number of issues Norton had shared during her time on the council, Ferrell said.
“While I didn’t know it was coming, it wasn’t a surprise,” Ferrell said. But “only she can speak to why she made this decision,” he said.
Norton’s resignation comes in the middle of filing week when candidates for public office in Washington apply to be on the ballot. The city looked into whether her seat could be put on the ballot for the 2023 election, but it was too late for her position to be open for filing week, city spokesperson David Solano said.
Instead the seat will be filled by formal appointment: The city will take applications from the public and the council will conduct interviews and vote to appoint someone to fill Norton’s seat.
Public notice of the vacancy was posted May 17, and the tentative deadline for candidates to fill Norton’s position will be June 15 at 5 p.m. The council may begin interviewing candidates around late June, with a projected swearing-in and inaugural council meeting for the new member in early July, according to a tentative schedule from the city.
Also on May 16, the council…
• Proclaimed May 7 – 13 as Affordable Housing Week, May 21 – 27 as Public Works Week, and the month of May as Mental Health Month.
• Heard an update on the work at the city’s Hanwoori Garden and Korean Pavilion project.
• Made appointments to the city’s Diversity, Youth and Arts commissions.