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Selection of new Council member to be open, public

Sunnyside residents have a little less than two weeks to submit their application to fill the vacant spot on the Sunnyside City Council.

Council will be accepting applications from interested residents to fill the vacancy left by former Councilman Alex de la Cruz until 5 p.m. Friday, July 23.

Applications for the vacant Council position can be obtained at Sunnyside City Hall starting today (Tuesday).

Mayor Ed Prilucik made it clear at this past Monday night's Council meeting that the entire process of selecting a councilman will be open to the scrutiny of the public. Prilucik said he felt it was important that the public know as much as they can about each of the applicants and who will be filling the vacant Council spot.

Council members officially accepted the resignation of de la Cruz, who operated the Sunnyside KFC/A&W, at Monday night's meeting. de la Cruz was forced to immediately resign his Council position after a management opportunity with the KFC/A&W franchise in Colorado Springs, Co. became available to him.

"I will be taking over a KFC/A&W there and help grow a depressed market they have had over the past few years," wrote de la Cruz in a resignation letter to Council. "Let me make it a point that I have felt honored to serve with you on the Council. The experiences I have had, both good and bad, helped me grow personally and professionally."

"It is a great loss for Sunnyside," said Prilucik. "He will be missed."

The basic requirements of applicants seeking the open seat are that residents must have lived in Sunnyside for one year and be a registered voter. Applicants will also be asked to provide professional and/or personal references and a history of their education. Other information sought will include the applicant's employment history and answers to a series of questions, such as why the applicant wants to serve on Council and what sort of experience and talent can the individual bring to the position. Prilucik said applicants will be required to have the form notarized due in part to the fact background checks are not allowed to be done. All information submitted with the application will be made available to the public and the media, said Prilucik.

The mayor originally wanted to have the application deadline set for this Friday, but Councilman Don Vlieger suggested extending the period based on the fact Council has 90 days to fill the position. Vlieger also asked that the Council's rules of procedure be handed out to each applicant so individuals know what is expected of them.

All interviews for the vacant Council position will be conducted during open session, said Prilucik. Prilucik said he will talk with Mayor Pro-tem Mike Farmer to decide how much time should be dedicated to each interview. Both Council and the public will have opportunities to ask questions of each applicant. The applicant will also be given a chance to showcase themselves during the interview. Following the interviews, which are all expected to take place at the same meeting, Council will convene into executive session and then make a decision on who to select to fill the vacant seat.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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