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News-Times Whidbey


Wildcats qualify for state


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2013 | Vol. 114, No. 90 | | 75¢

City HR manager gets ax By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Yet another employee in a management position was fired this week from Oak Harbor City Hall. Mayor Scott Dudley said Cheryl Lawler, the city’s human resources manager, was terminated Tuesday afternoon after she declined to continue working on a temporary, contract basis. City Administrator Larry Cort, who’s currently on vacation in Paris, sent a notice to council members about the firing on Election Day. “It goes without saying that this was a very difficult decision process during which a number of factors were considered before moving ahead with this action,” Cort wrote. Lawler could not be reached for comment.

Councilman Rick Almberg said he worries that all of the firings will make it difficult to find quality candidates to fill open city positions. “It just doesn’t make the city look good to have so much turnover,” he said. Dudley said he is hoping to phase out the “human resources manager” position and replace it with a higherlevel “human resources director” position. Dudley said he believes the city needs someone with the skills and experience to be able to negotiate with the the city’s five unions. Research shows that other cities similar in size to Oak Harbor have human resources professionals at the “director” level, with higher minimum qualifications than those pre-

Council approves 1 percent increase in property tax By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Residents in the City of Oak Harbor will pay 1 percent more in property taxes next year. For the owner of a home worth $225,000, that equates to an extra $5.38 a year in property taxes. City Council members approved the tax hike Wednesday night after a lengthy discussion about the budget despite See TAX INCREASE, A5


Servatius widens lead as election results firm up By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor Councilman Joel Servatius looks at the first count of election results Tuesday night at a gathering at the Oak Harbor Yacht Club. He was ahead by only 60 votes at the time, however, his lead has since increased.

Incumbent candidates in the race for Oak Harbor City Council will keep their seats following Tuesday’s election as Councilman Joel Servatius extended his thin lead. Opinions vary, however, on whether there’s meaning in the numbers when it comes to the tense relationship between the council and mayor. Among the four candidates for whom Mayor

Scott Dudley campaigned, only Councilman Jim Campbell won. Dudley said the vote was not a referendum on his leadership, but the product of hard work on behalf of incumbents. “Those that campaigned and campaigned well were successful — period,” he said. Servatius said he believes the results are a message from Oak Harbor voters. “The majority of the people are See ELECTION, A5

Deceased candidate elected to OH cemetery commission By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

Oak Harbor resident David McNeely passed away Aug. 10 at the age of 71. That didn’t stop him from winning a seat on the cemetery district board.

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And he didn’t just win. McNeely earned 58 percent of the vote against still-living candidate Lee Koetje. David McNeely’s widow, Marilyn McNeely, said he would be very pleased. “He was a person who liked to be involved,

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liked to make a difference,” she said. “He would have done a good job.” Island County Deputy Auditor Michele Reagan said she was aware that McNeely had passed away and contacted the state Auditor’s Office for guidance.


She was told that a candidate who filed for office can’t be taken off the ballot without a court order. “This is the first time this has happened since I’ve been here,” said Reagan, who’s See DECEASED, A8

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Whidbey News-Times, November 09, 2013  
Whidbey News-Times, November 09, 2013  

November 09, 2013 edition of the Whidbey News-Times