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29 people applied for a vacant seat on Whatcom County Council. Here are the finalists.

The Whatcom County Courthouse in downtown Bellingham on Feb. 10, 2016. The large field for a vacant seat on the Whatcom County Council has been narrowed to eight hopefuls, and members are expected to appoint a replacement on Jan. 16, 2018.
The Whatcom County Courthouse in downtown Bellingham on Feb. 10, 2016. The large field for a vacant seat on the Whatcom County Council has been narrowed to eight hopefuls, and members are expected to appoint a replacement on Jan. 16, 2018. pdwyer@bellinghamherald.com

The number of finalists for Todd Donovan’s vacant seat on the County Council shrank by one Wednesday evening after Pete Kremen, former county executive and member of the council, declined the nomination.

Kremen, who was vacationing in Mexico, said that it was an “honor to be nominated” but that there were “plenty of worthy candidates without me.”

“I’ve moved on. It’s time for others,” said Kremen, who retired at the start of 2016 – ending 31 years in public office that included stints as the county executive, on the County Council, and in the state House of Representatives.

A total of 29 people applied for the at-large, position B seat. Kremen wasn’t one of them. His name was put into the pool of finalists by newly elected council member Tyler Byrd.

The council picked the finalists for the remainder of Donovan’s term on Tuesday. Members are expected to appoint Donovan’s replacement to the at-large, position B seat on Jan. 16.

There were eight finalists. Now, there are seven.

The term will last until the November 2018 General Election results have been certified.

The 2017 election cycle was the first to have new Whatcom County Council districts, which voters approved in 2016, and Donovan was elected to the new District 2 seat in November. To serve in his new post, Donovan resigned from his current position, effective this week.

Here are the finalists, after two rounds of voting by the council, for the seat that Donovan vacated:

▪  Lummi Reservation resident Timothy Ballew II, a commercial fisherman and former chairman for Lummi Nation.

▪  Bellingham resident Seth Fleetwood, an attorney, former Bellingham City Council member and former member of the County Council.

▪  Natalie McClendon, Bellingham-area resident and business manager who is completing a four-year term on the Whatcom County Planning Commission.

▪  Lummi Island resident Patricia Dunn, senior financial executive with more than 20 years government experience.

▪  Blaine resident Alicia Rule, social worker who was newly elected to the Blaine City Council.

Once County Council members cast their votes for the first five candidates, each member could then nominate another.

Three of the council members put in additional names.

Barbara Brenner nominated Cliff Langley, a Bellingham-area resident and retired Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputy. Donovan added Carol Frazey, a Bellingham resident and president of Fit School Inc.

Langley and Frazey were among the 29 who applied.

Byrd nominated Kremen because he said he wanted the person coming in to already have experience, including with the budget process, because it would be a short term.

On Tuesday, Byrd said he had talked to Kremen and that he had accepted the nomination.

On Wednesday, Kremen said that was a “misinterpretation.”

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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