Cheney Free Press -

By DREW LAWSON
Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights council gets another resignation

Steve Lawrence becomes second councilmember to announce resignation this year

 

Last updated 12/17/2020 at 3:58pm

AIRWAY HEIGHTS — Councilman Steve Lawrence announced his intentions to resign from his position due to a move out of city limits at council’s study session Dec. 14. His resignation becomes effective Dec. 31.

Lawrence has lived in the city since 1974 and has been on council for 10 years, including a two-year stint as deputy mayor. He raised three children in the city.

Lawrence became the second councilmember to announce his resignation this year. Mayor and council chair Kevin Richey is also resigning effective Dec. 31.

The two resignations coincide with a ballot measure passed last week by council that would allow council to select a council chair, which serves as mayor, from within. Presently, the voters elect councilmembers and the mayor. The role of mayor is largely ceremonial, and the voters would still be electing all councilmembers, thereby indirectly still selecting their mayor.

The ballot measure heads to public vote in the Feb. 9, 2021 election.

Richey and Lawrence’s resignation, along with the new ballot measure, have created some confusion about how to replace particularly Richey’s mayoral spot in the interim. Both Richey and Lawrence had one year left on their terms, through 2021. Richey serves as chair in Position 1, and Lawrence is in Position 2.

A popular sentiment among council during their discussion was to select an interim mayor and council chair from within council, as opposed to selecting candidates from the outside. Council would then fill the two vacant positions from the outside through an application process.

Council has 90 days to fill Richey and Lawrence’s positions after their resignations take effect.

Two other council members have one year remaining on their terms: Deputy Mayor James “Sonny” Weathers and Doyle Inman. Councilman Larry Bowman voiced his support for Weathers to get elevated to the role.

“I think Sonny has been doing an exceptional job, and he represents the city quite well and has every person’s best interest,” Bowman said. “If it were up to me, I would definitely go for Sonny.”

If Weathers were selected to be interim mayor, the deputy mayor position could go to whoever council desired it go to; it isn’t tied to a council position, as mayor is tied to position 1/council chair.

More information on the interim mayoral replacement process, with action possible but not confirmed, is expected at council’s Dec. 21 legislative session. It is feasible for council to take action on this date if they so desire.

Drew Lawson can be reached at drew@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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