Woodland considering four candidates for board position

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Rick Bannan/rick@thereflector.com

Woodland is seeking to fill its vacancy on city council with four candidates who are expected to be interviewed on May 21, Mayor Will Finn told council at its May 7 meeting.

All four nominees were featured in board papers at the meeting, two of whom have previous experience on the board. The candidates are seeking to fill the post 7 seat, formerly held by Matt Jacobs who resigned from the board in March due to a promotion at work.

Of the two experienced nominees, John “JJ” Burke has the most as he served on the Woodland council for 12 years, according to his candidacy which further boasted that he had “never missed a meeting”. Currently, Burke serves as executive director of the Woodland Chamber of Commerce, a position he has held since 2012.

Another nominee, Michael Benjamin, also served on the board, serving in an interim capacity for several months in 2015 according to his candidacy. Benjamin, retired director

of accounting and information systems at Cowlitz PUD, noted a willingness to “contribute and learn more” from his previous experience on the board.

A third candidate, K. Scott Peabody, listed himself as a retired paramedic and safety professional in his application, noting several certifications received related to the latter role. He cited a desire to “give back and be involved in the community” as reasons for applying.

The final candidate for the seat is Jennifer Rowland, a Woodland Public Schools employee substitute. Currently enrolled at Lower Columbia College for a degree in administrative services, she has been a public relations officer and social media manager for the college’s multicultural club since the beginning of the year. She noted the support and compassion of the Woodland community during difficult times as encouraging her to give back by seeking a seat on the council.

Of the candidates, Benjamin was the city’s longest-serving resident at 43. Both Burke and Peabody have 26 years of residence and Rowland has five.

The board reviewed the nominations in an executive session ahead of the May 7 meeting, and candidate interviews are scheduled for May 21. Following the interviews, the board can make a decision that day, with the successful candidate being sworn in after board approval.

According to city information, the unexpired term would run until December 31, 2019, when the winner of that year’s general election for the seat would assume the role for a full four-year term.

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