A group of Bellevue City Council members could move to block the mayor’s appointment for a vacant council seat.
Mayor Rita Sanders announced her selection of businessman Michael Hall for the Ward 1 seat Tuesday.
But Council President Don Preister said the council is divided, with half supporting runner-up Dave Compton, a city planning commissioner and owner of DC Electric.
The six-person council is down one member with the resignation of Scott Houghtaling. So five members will get to vote on Sanders’ choice.
In an email to Sanders, Preister wrote that Hall “is a good choice for you, but is not the first choice for half the council members.”
“I think we have good candidates — I don’t have anything negative to say about anyone,” Preister said in an interview. “I personally prefer Dave because of his broader involvement in the community and his work to improve the city.”
He declined to name the council members supporting Compton.
“I can’t speak for other people,” he said. “They would have to speak for themselves.”
Councilwoman Kathy Saniuk said she will support Sanders’ appointment because Hall is a “qualified person by reasonable standards.”
She pointed to Hall’s involvement in the chamber of commerce and on the Bellevue Bridge Commission, and his winning a volunteer of the year award.
“That’s not good enough?” she asked. “It is for me.
“I see the council’s role in this not as to be five separate mayors saying I want this, I want that,” she said.
Councilman Steve Knutson said he wanted to meet with Hall this week.
“Until I get an opportunity to do that, I’m not really making a decision,” he said.
Other council members didn’t return messages for comment.
With the help of Preister and Councilwoman Carol Blood, Sanders had earlier winnowed the nine candidates who applied for the position down to two.
“I’m trying to do what’s in the best interests of the city,” Sanders said of her choice.
When Sanders brings Hall’s name forward at Monday’s City Council meeting, she’ll need four votes to secure the appointment but can cast her vote to break a tie, according to Patrick Sullivan, city attorney.
If the council votes down Hall’s appointment, Sanders will go back to the drawing board.
“And she’s not restricted to the nine applicants who previously applied,” Sullivan said. “She could bring in somebody out of the blue.”