As of Tuesday, July 12, 2016
On the third ballot, Tim Counihan prevailed as appointee to Hood River City Council.
“I am honored, and look forward to serving. I believe very strongly in serving and giving back to the community,” said Counihan, a member of the city Stormwater Management Committee and the School District Budget Committee, and the only applicant to have ever run for election to council, in 2014.
Counihan and five other applicants stood for interviews before council and the public Monday, and an hour or so later the council took its vote.
Mayor Paul Blackburn suggested starting with a vote “to see where we are.” It took the council 45 seconds to fill out ballots and hand them to city recorder Jennifer Gray. Blackburn and the five current councilors wrote names on paper ballots, which were counted by City Manager Steve Wheeler and City Attorney Dan Kearns.
The first ballot did not yield the minimum four votes, and the second ballot emerged a 3-3 tie between Counihan and Megan Saunders. After the second ballot, Blackburn said, “We have a lot of slips of paper,” looked around for five seconds and said, “Let’s vote again.”
The ballot took less than a minute, and Wheeler announced, “We have a winner.”
Counihan, a fisheries biologist and 23-year Gorge resident, was chosen after interviews along with Saunders, Tina Lassen, Teresa Ocampo, Scott Skelton, and Elizabeth Whelan. (Sean Corcoran applied but was not present Monday; council did review his application prior to voting.)
Counihan will be sworn in on July 25 and will serve through Dec. 31. A November General Election will determine who fills out the last two years of former councilor Laurent Picard’s term. Picard resigned in May, citing his inability to participate in discussions in the protracted council debate over regulations of short term rentals. As a short term rental provider, Picard had to state conflict of interest and recuse himself, or step away from participating.