Applicants swarm to fill Ocean Shores council vacancy

Sitting council will select on Feb. 13 among eight people to fill seat left by resignation

A seat on the Ocean Shores City Council left open last month by a resigning councilor has gained heavy interest from the public and provided a second chance for candidates who narrowly lost races for council seats a few months ago.

As of the application closing Feb. 2, eight people have applied to fill the council’s empty Position 1, formerly held by Eric Noble, who served as the mayor pro tem. Noble announced his resignation Jan. 2, citing work responsibilities. Noble was named in several ethics complaints in 2023 and said as election tensions boiled that he had become the victim of political and personal verbal attacks.

Noble’s resignation triggered an encore of an eventful election season in which four of seven council seats and the mayor’s seat were on the ballot. The elections in Ocean Shores garnered more voter interest than any other city in Grays Harbor County. In 2023, nine people filed last to run for four council positions; only one fewer than that number makes up the field for the lone seat now.

The sitting council will choose one applicant to fill the seat at a regular meeting on Feb. 13.

Peggy-Jo Faria

Two candidates — Peggy-Jo Faria and Susan Conniry — were also part of the 2023 race. Faria led the race for Position 6 on the council before falling to incumbent Richard Wills by a single vote, 1,740 to 1,739. Faria was the first to apply for the seat following Noble’s resignation. A former corporate communications professional for Costco, and former small business owner, Faria said in her 2023 campaign she would use professional skills to help market the city.

Susan Conniry

Conniry, who served on the council from 2017 to 2021, fell in the 2023 election to Lisa Griebel by 16 votes. She also lost narrowly in her 2019 bid for mayor of Ocean Shores. Conniry runs a nonprofit, North Beach Project Connect, and serves as chair and co-chair on regional and state agencies on aging.

“When this vacancy was announced, many reached out, asking me to apply,” Conniry wrote in her application letter. “I am humbled by their continued trust and support.”

Other applicants also bring experience with local boards and groups.

Robert Doering

Robert Doering currently serves on the North Beach School District Board of Directors and the Ocean Shores Fresh Waterways Committee, according to his resume. He expects to receive a master’s certificate in philosophy in 2024, and was last employed as a coating specialist for aerospace parts in Colorado Springs.

“With my extensive educational background, I can bring to the city council a master’s degree in sociology that is very effective with the diversity of governmental and cultural functions,” Doering wrote in an application letter. “I have also worked with many cultures, volunteering in environmental associations that educate the public on environmental issues in face-to-face forums.”

Denise Siers

Denise Siers, who has been active with the Ocean Shores Library, is also seeking to fill the vacancy. According to her resume, Siers established the Ocean Shores Library Foundation in 2018 and has served as president of the Ocean Shores Friends of the Library. That involvement stems from her work in an administrative position in the King County Library System, from which she retired in 2015.

“My entire career has been dedicated to public service,” Siers wrote in an application letter. “Working for the public necessitates listening to the competing needs from the youngest to the oldest constituents, from every political and economic interest and viewpoint.”

Jane Shattuck

Another applicant, Jane Shattuck, is an active community organizer and frequently provides public comment at city council meetings.

“I have demonstrated my commitment to the progress of our city by actively engaging in and attending all city committee and board meetings over the past two years,” Shattuck wrote in an application letter. “The insights acquired from these meetings have enabled me to contribute valuable information and ideas, amongst each board, leading to the successful achievement of some of their goals through the utilization of the information I provided.”

According to her resume, Shattuck worked as a person in charge of freight merchandise at Fred Meyer, and was the general manager of a Trailer Boss store.

Shawn Iliff

Shawn Iliff, a culinary teacher in the North Beach School District, also applied for the seat. Iliff is a former restaurant manager and led a nonprofit that helped feed the homeless population in Seattle, according to his resume. He has served on the Ocean Shores Parks Board for one year.

“My family and I have lived here for over five years now and we love this town,” Iliff wrote. We also see the need for constant improvements and involvement of this town if it is going to be successful for years into the future.

Mike Truxel

Adding to the applicant pool is Mike Truxel, who moved to Ocean Shores three years ago after retiring from a near 30-year career with the Idaho Department of Corrections as an officer and program manager. While in Idaho, he was also president of a law enforcement association, an officer of a yacht club, and member of a police advisory committee.

“I want to be of service to my community by contributing my talents to the Ocean Shores City Council as a councilmen,” Truxel wrote in an application letter.

Thomas Gardner

Also looking to break into the Ocean Shores political scene is Thomas Gardner. In his application Gardner did not list how long he has lived in the city but said he is a “senior citizen” with “life’s experience as a husband, father, veteran and working-class hero.”

Gardner said he was a field medic in Vietnam from 1971 to 1973, and lists electrician, news reporter and bicycle mechanic as former jobs. He received a communications degree from the University of Wisconsin in 2013. According to his resume, Gardner was a social media coordinator for the UW-Madison African-American Scientists Website and The Odyssey Project, which offers humanities classes to adult students facing economic barriers to college.

“My progressive policies will make a difference in the community and the lives of our neighbors. These moral concerns will inspire people to join and support the mission of the city council. In addition, my professional background allows me to work progressively with county officials, state legislators, and federal principles.”

The six sitting council members will hear more information from the eight applicants at the next city council meeting on Feb. 13. On Feb. 5 a three-member council committee convened and used an automated randomizer to select the order by which council members will nominate their choice of candidate. The rest of the council will then vote on that choice until a nomination is confirmed.

Lisa Scott will have the first pick, followed by Lisa Griebel, Richard Wills, Tom Taylor, Rich Hartman and Alison Cline.

Contact reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or clayton.franke@thedailyworld