WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla County Republican Party members will meet Monday to select nominees to replace outgoing county Commissioner Gregg Loney.
The party's central committee will meet at 7 p.m. at the Walla Walla Regional Airport to interview and then choose up to three finalists out of the four candidates certified by the party's executive committee.
Those names will be submitted to the county commissioners, who will have 60 days to choose a replacement after Loney's seat becomes vacant on May 1. If the two remaining commissioners, Perry Dozier and Greg Tompkins, cannot agree on a successor then the choice will fall to the governor.
The replacement process started in February after Loney announced he would retire from the commission's Position 1 seat due to stress-related health concerns. He was in the final year of his second term of office.
Seven people submitted applications to be considered as a candidate. One person withdrew early in the process and two others were eliminated after the party's executive committee examined the applicants' qualifications.
Sheryl Cox, county GOP vice chairwoman, said the four remaining candidates are Eric Carpenter, Jim Johnson, Linda Newcomb and Mark Spinks.
According to Cox, Carpenter has been a Washington state Department of Transportation employee since 1996 and is currently in charge of maintenance and repair of highway maintenance equipment. He is a graduate of Walla Walla Community College and Whitman College and has been a party precinct committee officer.
Johnson is the founder of Jim Johnson & Co. in Walla Walla, an accounting and tax service firm founded in 1983. He is a graduate of Seattle University and is an enrolled agent and licensed tax consultant. He is chairman of the county Republican Party, but removed himself from the commissioner selection process prior to submitting his name as an applicant.
Newcomb is an architect who operates her own business in Walla Walla. Prior to that, she worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1985 to 1994 in both foreign and domestic posts before coming to the Walla Walla District office. She is chairwoman of the Walla Walla County Planning Commission and helps coach track and field at Garrison Middle School.
Spinks is currently the public records officer for Walla Walla County, a post he has held since 2010, Cox said. In that position, he has been in charge of overseeing all requests for public documents and ensuring the county complies with federal and state requirements for public disclosure requests.
Prior to that time Spinks was employed with Washington Mutual Bank in Seattle. He is a graduate of Texas State University.