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Applications for vacant seat on Bellingham City Council due soon

Anyone hoping to serve on City Council once council member Cathy Lehman resigns will need to apply before 5 p.m. Dec. 1.

Lehman, the current council president and third ward representative, announced in August she would leave her four-year term a year early to take a job as voter education and outreach director for the Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters.

If the council passes the city’s biennial budget by the end of its Dec. 15 meeting, Lehman plans to step down that day.

The six remaining council members will then hold a special meeting Dec. 17 to give each candidate for the open spot a few minutes to talk about why they are fit for the job.

Applicants must live in the city’s third ward, which covers most of downtown and surrounding areas, including portions of the Lettered Streets, Columbia, Sunnyland, Roosevelt, Alabama Hill, Whatcom Falls, Puget, Sehome, Central Business District and York neighborhoods. They also must be a registered voter in Bellingham and have lived in the city for at least a year.

The council will take a break during the Dec. 17 meeting to talk about the candidates in executive session, then reopen the meeting to appoint the interim member if they pick one.

Whoever is appointed to the seat will serve the remainder of Lehman’s term, which is up for re-election in November 2015. If that person wants to remain on council, they will need to run and get elected by the voters.

If the council takes longer than 30 days to pick someone after Lehman steps down, the mayor will pick from the candidates nominated by council.

Applications are available online at cob.org and should be sent to ccmail@cob.org or to City Council, 210 Lottie St., Bellingham, WA 98225.

Candidates are asked to submit the application form, a cover letter and a resume.

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