The Mercer Island City Council appointed attorney and 19-year resident Lisa Anderl to the vacancy in Position No. 4 on Dec. 11.
Because the seat was unexpectedly vacated mid-term, the appointment begins on Dec. 18 when Anderl will be sworn in, and will expire following the certification of the November 2019 general election results. A formal, public swearing in ceremony will be held during the Jan. 15, 2019 council meeting.
Anderl currently works as senior associate general counsel for CenturyLink in Seattle and attended Gonzaga University School of Law. She’s been a lawyer in Washington for 35 years, with experience reviewing financial issues, according to her council application. She enjoys walking the Island’s many parks and trails with her husband and their chocolate lab.
She also served on a 23-member community advisory group (CAG) appointed to make a recommendation to city manager Julie Underwood on addressing the growing budget deficit, and was active in the “No on Prop. 1” campaign that encouraged the city to look for efficiencies instead of raising property taxes.
“Through those efforts I have learned a lot about city operations, finance and priorities, and have had extensive communication with friends and neighbors on the Island, hearing about their concerns,” she wrote in her application.
Mayor Debbie Bertlin said “We are pleased to fill Council Position [No. ] 4, and welcome Ms. Anderl to the council.”
Following the resignation of Tom Acker, council Position No. 4 became vacant in September 2018. Twelve Mercer Island residents submitted applications to fill the position, and the city conducted public candidate interviews in early December.
During her interview on Dec. 6, Anderl was asked about her decision making process, and which decisions made by the council in 2018 with which she agreed or disagreed. Anderl said she reaches conclusions by looking at data, spreadsheets and pro and con lists.
She explained why she opposed the council’s decision to put Proposition 1 to a vote this past November: “Given the options for balancing the budget through 2020… it would have been better to wait.” She said she did support the council’s decision to put a pause on the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) project and relocate it from Mercerdale Park to the former Tully’s site in Town Center.
According to her application, Anderl values listening to all parties before making a decision. Anderl wrote that she represents “the views of many residents in terms of fiscal issues, development and other areas of concern.”
“I would like to lead an effort to gain back the trust of the majority of the citizens/voters. I think the outcome on Prop. 1 says that the residents of the Island either don’t believe that the city needs more money, or don’t trust the city to use it properly. I think communication with the residents needs to be improved, and the council needs to demonstrate that it is hearing and acting on the priorities of the majority of the residents,” she wrote.
She added that she cares “deeply about the community” and is “prepared to work hard in the interests of the majority of the citizens of the Island.”
“I think my biggest strengths are the ability to absorb and analyze a lot of information relatively quickly, and my ability (which I hope you saw in the CAG) to have differences of opinions while remaining courteous to those with opposing views,” she also wrote.
Her highest priorities are balancing the budget, maintaining desired levels of service, and mobility and transportation issues for Island residents, including parking.
In the wake of the failure of Prop. 1, which would have maintainted city services — specifically in police and fire, Youth and Family Services and parks and recreation — at current levels, Anderl said she also prioritizes safety, school counselors, parks and seniors.
“I think we can find a way to work together to make sure all of those critical services survive,” she said in her interview.
She wrote that the city can “attack the budget issues with targeted cuts or freezes to certain areas (if necessary), and possibly a reduction of the reserves.”
Her vision is to keep Mercer Island a safe, green and friendly place, writing that “we want to keep it good and make it better.”
See www.mercergov.org/CouncilMeetings for more.