The Richland City Council chose three out of 12 applicants* to interview for the open seat created when Phil Lemley resigned. Only one of them has participated in city government according to their applications which the Observer obtained through a record request.
Gregery Levy, north Richland
Gregery Levy is the only one of the three interviewees who has experience with the city government. He served seven years on the Richland Code Enforcement Board.
Levy’s priorities would be addressing petty crime like car prowls and making Richland more pedestrian friendly. He wrote in his application that he reviewed the city charter to understand the duties of councilmembers.
Levy joined the Navy out of high school and successfully completed the Nuclear Power Program. He currently works as a Radiological Controls Training Specialist for the Washington River Protection Solutions. He lists his length of continuous residence in Richland as 11 years.
Levy wrote, “I am interested in serving as a member of the City Council because I believe I can adequately represent a large percentage of the city population who are just interested in Richland being a nice place to live.” He remembered driving through the city and being impressed by the parks, paths and sidewalks and hearing good things about the schools.
Columbia Master Singers, the Academy of Children’s Theater, and the Rude Mechanicals Shakespeare Company are on Levy’s list of volunteer activities.
KaeRae Parnell, Meadow Springs
KaeRae Parnell wants to become more involved in the local community now that she is retiring. “I feel a successful retirement results in personal contributions to my local society, some travel, and more time for a few hobbies,” she wrote in her cover letter.
Parnell said that she would need to do more homework on the needs that city council is dealing with to answer the question on priorities at length. She wrote that the “hot topics” were usually taxes.
Parnell has 33 years of experience in project management and project controls. She currently works for the Department of Energy (DoE) but is planning to retire.
She received a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University (WSU).
“I am a Christian woman and have loved living in Richland. This has been my home for over 40 years.” On her application, she lists length of continuous residence in Richland as 6 years.
Parnell lists her Homeowners Association Board, the board of the Rob Russell Memorial Scholarship non-profit and many years in the Richland Parks & Recreation Girls Fastpitch organization.
Damon Shayne VanDyke, Meadow Springs
Shayne VanDyke wants to give back to the community. He added that “I have no personal agendas or grievances to fight.”
VanDyke’s priorities would be “encouraging investments from business, finding steps to help with homelessness and increasing crime.” He said that he wants to listen and learn, and his priorities might change. He too reviewed the city charter to learn about the duties of city councilmembers.
VanDyke, who graduated from Brigham Young University and has an MBA from WSU, currently works as deputy project manager of the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Administration at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL).
In his cover letter, VanDyke wrote that his family has spent the last 20 years in Richland. He gives nine years as the length of continuous residence in Richland on his application.
VanDyke wrote that he is conversant in Tagalog, a Philippine language.
He has coached baseball and soccer and spent eight years helping young men in Boy Scouts.
“God and family are my priorities,” he wrote.
The city council will interview the three finalists for the open seat on Tuesday, June 28, at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers on Swift. It is a public meeting.
*Full disclosure. The Observer was one of the 12 that also included Scott Butner, Chaune’ Fitzgerald, Dusty Howard, Kurt Maier, Justin Raffa, Carl Sarrazolla, Donovan Williams and Ginger Wireman.
Interesting to note that Parnell lists her years of experience with “Richland Parks & Recreation Girls Fastpitch organization.” The City’s Parks page does not list softball as one of the sports it sponsors. Private organizations do use the city fields but you would think anyone active with the organization at a serious level would understand the difference.
Thank you, Nancy. I didn’t know much about the group. When I read what she wrote about softball, I recalled that Councilmember Terry Christensen lists his 25 years volunteering with the Tri-City Girls Fast Pitch Softball Association on his council webpage. I wondered if he knew her through that organization.