By MELANIE RUSSELL
Published December 21, 2016
Snohomish Councilman Zach Wilde resigns after residency questioned
SNOHOMISH — The City Council now has an unexpected vacancy open.
After public comments questioning whether Snohomish City Councilman Zach Wilde now lives in Snohomish or Lake Stevens at last week’s special City
Council meeting, Wilde resigned a few hours later in a written statement.
The City Council will start the process for filling Wilde’s council seat at its
next regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Jan. 3. That meeting will be held in the Carnegie Building, 110 Cedar Ave., and start at 7 p.m.
In recent history, the council used an appointment
process to fill vacancies.
At the Tuesday, Dec. 13 special City Council meeting, Wilde abruptly excused himself from the meeting during council deliberations on its first action item
shortly after the questions were posed by the public.
Wilde, who was born and raised in Snohomish, left the council meeting silently out the back door and didn’t respond to questions from
the public or the Tribune about where he lives.
The Tribune confirmed with Wilde before the special council meeting that he had bought a house in Lake
Stevens and also owns the aforementioned house in Snohomish. He told this
paper by text message that
he did not reside in Lake Stevens, but did not answer a reporter’s further questions this week.
Things unraveled after
CPR-Snohomish members John Kartak and Bill Betten went to Wilde’s listed address in Snohomish to serve him court papers for an unrelated injunction (later dismissed) that CPR-Snohomish had filed to pause the timing for the city’s special elections for strong mayor. Every council member was being served. When they knocked, Wilde was not there. Betten said a woman answered the door
and told them that Wilde did not live at the house and that she was renting it from him.
During the council meeting’s public comments period, Snohomish residents Carey and David Clay directed questions about where Wilde lives.
“I have a question. Zach Wilde, what is your address and where do you reside, currently?” asked David Clay.
Mayor Karen Guzak replied Wilde resided in the city and told Wilde he did not have to answer. “We are not having a bully session here,” Guzak told Clay.
Tax assessment records show Wilde bought the Lake Stevens house in April 2016, four months after he took his council seat. Wilde, a project manger at The
Boeing Co. and a basketball coach at Everett Community College, was elected over incumbent Paul Kaftanski
and took office right before turning 26.
Wilde’s term was through 2019. He was being paid $513 a month as a stipend for his service on council.
In a statement sent to the Tribune on Wednesday, Dec. 14, Wilde wrote, “I would like to thank Mayor Guzak, City Council, staff and those members of this community. I have enjoyed my time on council. At this time I have resigned my position and will be moving on with more life endeavors (both) personally and professional (sic) while continuing helping my family.”
Councilmembers are required to live in the city of Snohomish in order to serve on the City Council.
Wilde did not answer a reporter’s query if he exited because questions about his residency came up. The city listed the seat as “vacant” online early Dec. 14.
“I was shocked completely about Zach Wilde. I was surprised, I think we all were,” Guzak told this paper post-meeting.
Four councilmembers will
be up for re-election in November 2017: Derrick Burke, Michael Rohrscheib, Dean Randall and Tom Hamilton. Wilde’s council
seat would also now be up this November as whoever is appointed would have to
run for re-election to keep the seat.
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