Roxanne Murphy, president of the Bellingham City Council, resigned her post over the holiday weekend after accepting a job with the city of Valdez, Alaska.
Murphy, who was elected to a two-year “at large” position on the council in 2013 and re-elected twice, begins her job as assistant city manager of Valdez on Oct. 2.
Her final day on the council will be Monday.
“This is a very bittersweet turning point in my life,” Murphy said Tuesday. “I’m thrilled to start in this line of work and to continue my career as a public servant. But it’s sad to be leaving the Bellingham community behind.”
According to the Bellingham city charter, the council will appoint someone to fill the final year of her term, Murphy said.
“It has been an honor to be the first person of color elected to this council and the first person of color to become the council president, and I hope other women and people of color will follow in running for office, and winning,” Murphy said.
Councilman Dan Hammill will become the body’s president — the person who chairs its meetings.
Hammill praised Murphy’s tenure on the council, saying her selfless leadership will be missed.
“She’s always putting people first, and always puts public safety first,” Hammill said.
“Part of putting people first is making sure we listen to each other even when there is disagreement. That’s part of her strong suit,” he said.
Murphy, a member of the Nooksack Tribe and a lifelong Washington state resident, was laid off recently from her job as youth director for the Nooksack Indian Tribe.
Murphy said she’s most proud of accomplishments that changed Columbus Day to Coast Salish Day, brought paid sick leave in Bellingham and Washington state, and ensured continued public use of trails on Galbraith Mountain.
She has a master’s degree in public administration from The Evergreen State College and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Central Washington University.
Previously, Murphy has been a public relations and community outreach specialist for the city of Tacoma, and has worked at Woodland Park Zoo and for the Weyerhaeuser Co., according to her biography at the city’s website.