Mayor: Lack of Poulsbo City Council candidates could mean public is satisfied with leadership

The primary election is Aug. 16. The general election is Nov. 8. - Staff
The primary election is Aug. 16. The general election is Nov. 8.
— image credit: Staff

POULSBO — Four Poulsbo City Council candidates — three of them incumbents — are unopposed in this year’s election.

The incumbents without challengers are Linda Berry-Maraist, Jeff McGinty and David Musgrove. McGinty  is   the   longest-serving member currently on the council; Musgrove was appointed by the council earlier this year to the position vacated by Dale Rudolph, who retired.

“I was really surprised to hear that there are so many unopposed candidates this year, but I think it is a really good sign,” Mayor Becky Erickson said. “I think it means people are mostly content with how things are going because obviously they are not troubled enough to get involved.”

The only incumbent facing an opponent is longtime Councilwoman Connie Lord, who is challenged by surveyor Mike Dunphy. “I welcome the challenge and think it is a good thing,” Lord said. “It's the democratic process in action because it allows issues and dialogue to happen.”

Dunphy agrees.

“This means we have to go to forums and have open dialogue with the citizens,” he said. “I think Connie has been doing a great job, but I have also got some great things to bring to the table.”

The only open seat on the council will likely be filled by newcomer Gary Nystul, who is the only person who filed to run for the position held by Councilman Jeff Bauman. Bauman was appointed to the council in January 2010 after Erickson was elected mayor; he announced in May he wouldn’t run for a full term.

Nystul has 18 years of experience as an elected official in Montana and more than 25 years of auditing experience; he served on the city council in Kalispell and is now Bremerton’s city auditor.

“I think communities rely on quality volunteers to make them better and I am willing to contribute,” Nystul said.

“I really want to contribute to helping preserve the quality of life in Poulsbo and the community.”

Poulsbo City Council members serve four-year terms and receive $6,000 a year. The City Council is the legislative branch of city government; members approve the budget, make laws, set policies, and serve on committees.

Berry-Maraist, Position 1, is completing her first term. Lord, Position 2, is finishing her second term. McGinty, Position 4, is completing his fifth term.

“I really think we have a great group of people that have already accomplished many things for the city,” Berry-Maraist said. “We all have different opinions and perspectives, which makes for fair decisions.”

Musgrove believes all council members have backgrounds which allow them to get the voices of all residents into each decision made.

“I have worked in a coffee shop here and owned a few businesses, so I feel like I am a supporter of our people,” Musgrove said. “We all support each other and our community, which gives me a good feeling that we are helping Poulsbo move in a positive direction.”

Council members listed the completion of the new City Hall and adoption of a Comprehensive Plan as some of their best accomplishments.

“I think we have all done a great job of dealing with the pressures we have to grow, while still maintaining our downtown charm,” McGinty said. “I am excited for downtown visioning and where it will take us.”

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