Former Mayor Bruce Bassett passes the gavel to new Mayor Debbie Bertlin at the Jan. 9 Mercer Island City Council meeting. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Former Mayor Bruce Bassett passes the gavel to new Mayor Debbie Bertlin at the Jan. 9 Mercer Island City Council meeting. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Passing the gavel: Mercer Island City Council selects Debbie Bertlin as mayor

Salim Nice will serve as deputy mayor, as the city appoints new leadership for 2018-19.

The Island will have new leadership in the new year. The Mercer Island City Council selected Debbie Bertlin as mayor and Salim Nice as deputy mayor in 4-3 votes at its first meeting of 2018, held on Jan. 9.

The council selects leaders from among its membership every two years. Bertlin had served as deputy mayor since 2016, and was first elected in 2011. Former Mayor Bruce Bassett announced last year that he would not seek another term as mayor — a position he held since 2012.

Bertlin said she had “tremendous shoes to fill,” citing a history of respected mayors on Mercer Island. She said she sees the role as the “facilitator” and “mouthpiece” of the council, and would look to find consensus and foster “an open and constructive dialogue on all the issues” among the council and community.

Bassett said the job is “gratifying but can be challenging,” and said he is looking forward to transitioning back to a role as “councilmember … and advocate, rather than the person who tries to find the common ground.”

Councilmembers Dave Wisenteiner and Benson Wong were nominated to serve as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, but lost narrowly after roll call votes decided by Councilmember Wendy Weiker. Wisenteiner, Nice and Tom Acker voted together, as did Bassett, Bertlin and Wong.

Acker, who won the November election for Position 4 on the council, was sworn in on Nov. 28, while Wong (Position 6) and Nice (Position 2) took their oaths of office on Jan. 9, promising to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the state of Washington and all local ordinances.

See www.mercergov.org for more.

Deputy Mayor Salim Nice takes his councilmember oath of office on Jan. 9, with his family by his side. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Deputy Mayor Salim Nice takes his councilmember oath of office on Jan. 9, with his family by his side. Katie Metzger/staff photo

City Manager Julie Underwood photographs Councilmember Benson Wong and family after he was sworn in to another term serving Mercer Island. Katie Metzger/staff photo

City Manager Julie Underwood photographs Councilmember Benson Wong and family after he was sworn in to another term serving Mercer Island. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Deputy City Clerk Ellie Hooman swears Debbie Bertlin in as mayor of Mercer Island. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Deputy City Clerk Ellie Hooman swears Debbie Bertlin in as mayor of Mercer Island. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Salim Nice and Debbie Bertlin will serve the Mercer Island community as mayor and deputy mayor for 2018-19. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Salim Nice and Debbie Bertlin will serve the Mercer Island community as mayor and deputy mayor for 2018-19. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Former Mayor Bruce Bassett gifts Debbie Bertlin with a bull’s-eye, helmet and gavel at the Jan. 9 Mercer Island City Council meeting, after Berlin was selected as the new mayor. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Former Mayor Bruce Bassett gifts Debbie Bertlin with a bull’s-eye, helmet and gavel at the Jan. 9 Mercer Island City Council meeting, after Berlin was selected as the new mayor. Katie Metzger/staff photo

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