(Updated Jan. 5 to include a comment by Councilmember Jhoanna Jones)
After the ceremonial swearing in of the recently elected members of the Richland City Council, the two new members, Jhoanna Jones and Theresa Richardson, joined Councilmembers Michael Alvarez and Terry Christensen to elect Alvarez mayor.
Councilmember Phil Lemley nominated Mayor Ryan Lukson for another term. Councilmember Sandra Kent nominated herself.
Alvarez nominated Christensen for mayor pro tem and he was elected with the same four votes.
Lemley disappeared from the Zoom meeting without explanation at the conclusion of the voting,
During the public hearing comment period Rebecca Clapperton called to point out that some of the material that she had presented regarding the change of zoning for property at Sienna Hills had been omitted from the record. Approving the change of zoning from commercial to residential was on the consent calendar for a second reading.
City Attorney Heather Kintzley admitted that there had been a clerical error and the council could pull the matter from the consent calendar for further consideration. She added that the issues described had been covered by staff. The council did not pull the item.
Several residents of Jones Road called during the public comment period to complain about possible violations and alleged criminal activity on property in their neighborhood.
After that, the city clerk read the consent calendar items that receive no discussion and one vote. Councilmember Jones was the only no vote. In a telephone conversation with The Observer, Jones explained that since some of the items on the consent calendar had been discussed before she was a member of the council, and she didn’t necessarily agree with some of them, it made more sense to vote no.