Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

John Merrick resigns Medical Lake council seat

Cites unexpected conflicts with new job as reason for leaving


April 19, 2018

One of Medical Lake's newest City Council members, John Merrick, tendered his resignation April 14 due to work commitments.

The tenure of one of Medical Lake's newest City Councilmen, John Merrick, ended well short of the time intended when he tendered his resignation and the City Council accepted that move in a unanimous vote at their April 17 meeting.

Merrick, who won the Nov. 7 general election race that unseated incumbent Elizabeth Rosenbeck with 57 percent of the vote, notified fellow council members via email April 14 that he planned to step down.

Accepting a new job after the election unexpectedly forced Merrick to be out of town and he had missed most of the 2018 meetings. He had tried to integrate some technology that would allow him to be part of meetings remotely, but those hurdles proved too complex.

"It is with a lot of self-deliberation that I am officially vacating my Council (Position) No. 2 seat," Merrick wrote in the email. "With recent changes in the company that I work for, I now have greater responsibilities."

He indicated his resignation was effective immediately as he would be traveling in the near future. "This is not a decision that I came to lightly but I feel it is in the best interest of the city of Medical Lake, my family and myself."

Fellow Councilman John Paikuli spoke on behalf of Merrick at the meeting, saying he was excited to serve but "Circumstances changed."

Now the process begins to fill that vacancy, a process that by state law needs to take place within 90 days of the acceptance of the resignation. The council, however would like to have the matter settled sooner.

There is a minimum of 30 days needed with which to advertise the position and accept applications.

That clock will start ticking next week when the official advertisement is done in local publications, including the Cheney Free Press. Those interested in being considered should contact the Medical Lake City Hall for an application, which includes a personal questionnaire.

After the application deadline passes, council members will look over the pool, select finalists and out of that will vote on Merrick's replacement. Depending on the interest level, a special ad-hoc committee may be formed to assist in determining that group.

The council will need all-hands-on-deck as it is faced with a number of important issues that need attention, including the future of policing in the city.

A committee is currently studying options that include keeping the present arrangement where the city contracts with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, returning to a city-operated force, or something entirely different. The latter was mentioned at the meeting but the nature of what that might be is not known.

Other possible issues include the longtime discussion of establishing a fulltime fire department, plus the challenges of simple day-to-day operations.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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