Filing week to begin with Langley City Council vacancy

Two of three Langley City Council members up for election this November will seek additional terms, and the third has confirmed plans to step down next week.

May 15-19 is filing week, the five-day period where those interested in elected office formally declare their candidacies to run in the general election. In Langley, incumbents Thomas Gill (position 5) and Dominique Emerson (position 4) will both seek reelection. Rene Neff (position 1), however, will not. In fact, she’ll be hanging up her hat early.

“I’m going to be resigning on Monday,” Neff told The Record late Thursday.

Neff announced her intention in March to step down sometime this summer, but changed her mind a few weeks later. She has since been diagnosed with a serious illness and says it’s no longer a matter of choice, that she cannot continue.

“I was hoping to stay to the end of the year, but I’m not going to be able to do that,” Neff said.

She hopes to participate in a vote on the proposed sanctuary city ordinance, which is scheduled for Monday, but that it will be her last council meeting.

Neff as served on the council for about 12 years.

It’s unclear how the appointment process would work; attempts to reach Island County Elections Office officials for this story were unsuccessful. But, it’s likely that anyone appointed would need to run for the position this November.

In other South Whidbey races, both Lou Malzone and John Brunke are hoping to retain their commissioner seats at the Freeland Water and Sewer District. Malzone is wrapping up his first six-year term, and says he wants to continue serving the district.

“I enjoy doing it, and we’re just starting the vadose zone well test, and I’d like to see that through,” he said.

Brunke was appointed in 2015 to serve out the remainder of Marilynn Abrahamson’s first term. Brunke could not be reached for comment for this story, but the Record confirmed he submitted a letter of intent to be filed by a proxy.

Three seats are open on the WhidbeyHealth Board of Commissioners, including Grethe Cammermeyer, position 1; Kurt Blankenship, position 2; and Eric Anderson, position 5. Cammermeyer will seek reelection while the intentions of Blankenship, appointed in April, and Anderson, appointed last year, are unknown.

Also up for election are South Whidbey School District directors Julie Hadden (position 2) and Fred O’Neal (position 5). O’Neal, who was appointed in January to fill the remainder of Rocco Gianni’s first term, is not running and Hadden, who is moving to Clinton, plans to file for his seat.

Also up for grabs is Port of South Whidbey’s position 1 commissioner seat. It’s currently held by Jack Ng, who was appointed in 2015; he could not be reached for comment.

In the South Parks and Recreation District, commissioners Mark Helpenstell (position 2), Bob Hezel (position 3) and Matt Simms (position 5) are all up for reelection. Helpenstell and Simms both confirmed their plans to run again, while Hezel, who is finishing his first four-year term, will not seek reelection.

Finally, position 1 of South Whidbey Fire/EMS is open. Longtime Commissioner Bob Elliot said he’s had enough and won’t seek reelection.

“Eighteen years is long enough for me,” he said. “I have grandkids I want to play with. It’s time to give it to somebody else.”

All of the above races are nonpartisan and carry either four- or six-year terms.

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