Mercer Island City Council member Tom Acker tendered his resignation from the council, effective immediately, on Sept. 29, citing personal health concerns and family commitments.
In an email addressed to Mayor Debbie Bertlin and Deputy Mayor Salim Nice, Acker wrote, “Serving on the council and representing the community has been a rewarding experience which I’ve very much enjoyed. However, my health and the well being of my family must be my first priority.”
“This news is unfortunate and was unexpected,” Bertlin said in a city press release sent Oct. 1. “Speaking on behalf of the entire Mercer Island team we extend our support to Tom and his family. We are grateful for his service to the council and the community. We wish Tom and his family the best.”
Acker founded the Mercer Island community group Save our Suburbs in 2015, before running for city council against former mayor Bruce Bassett. While unsuccessful in his first campaign, Acker was elected in November 2017 to fill council position No. 4.
Council position No. 4 is not scheduled for election until 2021, leaving an unexpired three-year term with Acker’s resignation. The seat will appear on the November 2019 General Election ballot, meaning that five positions will be on the ballot: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 (currently held by Dave Wisenteiner, Wendy Weiker, vacant, Bassett and Bertlin). The person elected during the November 2019 General Election will serve until the expiration of the term for Position No. 4 in December 2021.
Following its existing rules, the council established a timeline for appointing a replacement in the meantime, approving a plan at its Oct. 2 meeting.
City staff recommended a six-week period to receive applications. The appointment would be made in December, as budget review consumes the majority of council meetings through October and November.
Applications for the open seat will be due at 5 p.m. on Nov. 21. The council will hold interviews on Dec. 6 and will vote on Dec. 11. The new council member will be sworn in on Dec. 18.
According to the city’s website, Acker and his wife moved to Mercer Island from Southeast Seattle in 2013 for the “sense of community, exceptional schools, well maintained parks, and a simpler pace of life.” The Ackers have three children who are all enrolled in the Mercer Island school system. Two of their children have a rare genetic disorder, Kleefstra Syndrome.
Acker, a graduate of Seattle University, has spent most of his career in the aerospace industry, where his focus has been technology, international business and human resources.
“I wish to share with you what an honor it has been to serve you all on our city council, even if for a short time,” Acker wrote in an email to the Reporter. “Unfortunately due to some pressing health concerns that need immediate attention, my time on the council will end earlier than I would have hoped. While Mayor Bertlin was very gracious and supportive of looking at alternative opportunities to keep me on the council, my personality wouldn’t allow me to give less than 100 [percent]. So, instead, my focus needs to be on my health and family. I sincerely thank you for your support and understanding.”
See www.mercergov.org for more.