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Pearman to resign
City of Mercer Island mayor and longtime City Councilman Jim Pearman is resigning from the City Council effective Feb. 1. Pearman has been on the Council since 2001. He has been the mayor since 2008. He is halfway through his third term.
Pearman, 54, accepted a position earlier this year to work as a mediator for the Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA. He has now completed extensive on-site training with the agency. He will be on call to serve in emergencies similar to what occurred in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. He recently traveled to Vermont to assist communities and residents dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
The decision to leave his post has not been an easy one, he said, but notes that he could be away for weeks or months at a time if called up.
“I could not be an effective Councilmember or mayor if I was gone for long or indefinite periods,” he said.
Pearman has been a consultant to cities and a mediator on employment matters and regional agency coordination throughout King County.
Pearman came close to death last summer, when he had a heart attack on his way home from an early morning rowing workout on Lake Washington. He made it to the North end fire station before he collapsed. Island firefighters stabilized him and took him to Overlake Hospital for emergency treatment and surgery. Both his physicians and emergency medical personnel told him that his initial situation was dire and that he is very lucky to have survived, he said.
Pearman has been mayor during some of the most challenging and contentious times faced by the city. The list includes the construction of the new Mercer Island Community and Event Center; an evaluation of the effects of SR-520 tolling on I-90 traffic; changes to Island Crest Way; the Tent City encampment for the homeless; the latest budget that required cuts to city services, and finally the lawsuit brought against the city by former assistant city manager and attorney, Londi Lindell. The suit settled for $1 million. The city was also fined for public records act violations.
The mayor is most proud of the Community Center. He was the co-chair of the center’s needs assessment committee prior to becoming a Councilmember.
“It has truly become the heart of our community,” he said of the building. “And it was built without any new taxpayer money.”
Pearman said he will nominate City Councilmember Bruce Bassett in January to be the next mayor.
A 40-year resident, Pearman, and his wife, Katalin, have two daughters, Julia and Charlotte, who attend Island schools.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our community. I am proud of what has been accomplished,” he said.