Process set to replace official

Applications are sought for people to fill the seat of county Commissioner Gregg Loney.

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WALLA WALLA -- Local GOP members embarked on a journey into seldom-visited territory Monday.

At a general meeting of the Walla Walla County Republican Party, members discussed how to go about filling a vacancy on the county Board of Commissioners this spring. The process, said Vice Chairwoman Sheryl Cox, will be "new to officers and new to many other members of the Central Committee."

The Position 1 seat on the county commission will become vacant after April 30 due to the resignation of Commissioner Gregg Loney. Loney announced earlier this month he is stepping down due to stress-related health problems.

At Monday's meeting, party Chairman Jim Johnson outlined how, according to the state Constitution, the party's Executive Committee is charged with nominating up to three candidates to fill the position. The names will be submitted to county commissioners, who will chose one to fill the seat until the general election in November.

Johnson said he has removed himself from the process because he plans to submit his name for consideration. Cox is in charge of overseeing the selection process.

Cox described how the process will proceed, starting with asking applicants to mail a letter of intent and a resume to the party. No email applications will be accepted, she said.

Applicants must be registered Walla Walla County voters, must live in Loney's county commission district and must be "bona fide" members of the county Republican Party as defined by the Central Committee bylaws.

The deadline for applications is March 24. Between March 25 and April 8, the Executive Committee will certify applicants. Those who have qualified will be invited to a special meeting of the Central Committee on April 9 for interviews.

Cox said the plan at present is to start the meeting at 7 p.m., but that may change based on how many applicants need to be interviewed.

"If we have only one candidate (before then), we may need to solicit additional help from the media. If we have 25, we'll have to massage the process," she said.

After interviews are completed, the committee will vote to determine the list of candidates. No matter how many candidates need to be interviewed, the committee intends to be ready to submit a final list of candidates to county commissioners by April 10, Cox said.

According to a motion made Monday night, the names of applicants will be posted on the Walla Walla County Republican Party's website after March 8. Applications received after that date will be posted as they come in, according to the motion.

After Loney's seat becomes vacant May 1, Commissioners Greg Tompkins and Perry Dozier will have 60 days to name a replacement. If they cannot agree on a candidate, the responsibility will shift to the governor, who will have 30 days to choose a replacement.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

Application process

Applicants must mail a letter of intent and a resume (maximum length 3 pages) to: Sheryl Cox, Vice Chair, Walla Walla County GOP, P.O. Box 461, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

No email applications will be accepted.

All letters of intent and resumes must be delivered by 5 p.m. on March 24 or be postmarked sufficiently.

Questions can to be addressed to Vice Chairwoman Sheryl Cox at scox@bmi.net or by calling (509) 529-7635.

Applicants must be a registered Walla Walla County voter and must reside in Commissioner District 1.

Applicants must be a bona fide Republican as defined by the Walla Walla County Central Committee bylaws. Bylaws can be viewed on the Walla Walla County Republican website at www.wallawallacountygop.com

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