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Council vacancies create leadership opportunities for Sunnyside citizens

Anyone interested in making Sunnyside a better place to live, by serving on the city council, may have a shot at being appointed to one of two vacancies that have opened up or will be opening up soon.

The city is now accepting applications for former Mayor Mike Farmer's seat in District 2 that he resigned from earlier this month.

Councilman Nick Paulakis has announced that at the end of the month he will be moving out of his district and his seat in District 4 will become available as well.

The city of Sunnyside is divided into four districts, each defined by voting precincts and each of roughly equal population. Four of the council seats must be filled by a registered voter living in each district while the other three seats can be filled by any registered voter in the city.

Both of the council vacancies are district positions, which means that applicants must live in the proper district to apply and be considered.

The seat formerly held by Farmer is in District 2, which consists of voting precincts 1702, 1703, 1704 and 1705. The quickest way to determine if a citizen is eligible is to check the person's voter registration card, which includes the precinct the citizen officially resides in.

District 2 includes most of Harrison Hill and western Sunnyside. The boundary of the district follows West Edison Avenue from the city limits to Maple Avenue, then runs along the railroad tracks that are just south of the Law and Justice Center to South Sixth Street. The boundary then follows South Sixth Street down to East Lincoln Avenue, then runs west to South First Street where it turns north until it reaches Southwest Crescent Avenue, which it follows until it reaches the city limit.

Applications for the seat in District 2 are due by Friday, March 1, at 4 p.m. Application packets for the vacancy are available at City Hall, 818 E. Edison Ave. Applications for the District 4 position will open once Paulakis has officially resigned.

A map of the city's four districts can be found on the city website, sunnyside.org, under "Departments", "City Clerk", "Elections" and "City Council Electoral Districts". It is on the second page of a pdf brochure. A printed copy of the brochure can be also be obtained at city hall.

When Paulakis retires from the council at the end of February, a seat in District 4 will open up. This district consists of voting precinct 1706.

District 4 includes most of the southern and southeastern areas of Sunnyside as well as a portion of the town south of East Edison Avenue and east of Yakima Valley Highway. The district includes all of Sunnyside south of East Lincoln Avenue.

Applicants for a position on city council must have lived in the city for at least a year, be a registered voter and hold no other public office or employment under the city government. Council members are also required by law to publicly disclose financial matters by filing a Personal Financial Affairs Statement with the State Public Disclosure Commission.

Both of the council openings will expire on Dec. 31, 2013. Elections will be held this year to fill the positions starting next year.

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