All Yakima City Council Candidates Will Be Interviewed - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

All Yakima City Council Candidates Will Be Interviewed

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YAKIMA--Members of City Council now know how they'll choose a replacement  for departing councilman Norm Johnson. They'll interview all 28 candidates.

The majority think it gives everyone a fair shot, but two council members think it will just bog down the selection process without really revealing who the best candidates are.

In these opening interviews, candidates may not even answer questions, just introduce themselves and give a short statement.

Filling Norm Johnson's soon-to-be vacated seat is a difficult and unusual task for City Council.

"This is the people's choice," Councilman Neil McClure said.  "This is a time when we have to make that choice."

So it comes no surprise that the council was deadlocked on how to narrow down the field of 28 candidates, until McClure changed his vote, giving all the candidates a three-minute interview.

"[It will] give everybody an opportunity to be in front of council, show their poise, show their understanding of government."

But councilwoman Kathy Coffey still was not happy about the decision this morning.

"I feel that you can't really do much justice to the candidate or the people that are doing the interviewing," she said.

Rather than all the meet-and-greets, Coffey likens filling the seat to a job interview.

"We are still one of the major corporations in this city," Coffey said.  "We need to look at it with all the seriousness and professionalism as [a corporation.]"

The city hopes to get interviewing started in the next two weeks.  Then, they will narrow the field down to ten candidates or less.

What is the council looking for?

"The key skill is to understand you're working in a group," McClure said.  "Your voice is important, but it can't drive the council."

"What this individual has learned, what they've contributed," Coffey said. "What do they have to offer to this council and this community?"

Also, whoever takes this seat will have to run for re-election next fall.  That seat and two others will be opening so there could be a totally different council makeup by next year.