Splash photo by Craig Howard

Bob Moore, left, is congratulated by Mayor Steve Peterson after being appointed to the Liberty Lake City Council on Tuesday night. A member of the city’s planning commission since 2010, Moore was selected from a group of five applicants.

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Moore wins appointment to replace Olander on council
6/11/2014 8:27:58 AM

By Craig Howard
Splash Contributor

When numbers were drawn to determine the order of interviews for five City Council hopefuls on Tuesday night, Bob Moore emerged as the first in line.

Later, when representatives of the governing board cast ballots on a replacement for Lori Olander, Moore again found himself ahead of the field. 

The native of Ohio earned four votes to become the latest member of the City Council during a special meeting at City Hall on June 10 that spanned just over two hours. Donald Walker, the only other applicant to earn a nomination among the quintet of finalists, received one vote.

"I will do my very best to fulfill every responsibility," Moore told his new colleagues after the appointment.

City Attorney Sean Boutz administered the oath of office to Moore at the conclusion of the meeting. Council deliberated for just over 30 minutes in an executive session after conducting interviews with each of the applicants. Debbi Haskins, Charles Matthews and Julie Anne Young rounded out the list of candidates.

"We ended up with five outstanding individuals," said Mayor Steve Peterson before the council vote. "It's difficult to make a decision within such a minute space because you're all good."

Moore moved from Florida to Liberty Lake in 2009 with his wife, Jackie. In 2010, he was appointed to the city's planning commission, where he has served to the present. He was selected as chair in 2012. 

Moore's experience on the commission proved valuable during the interview process as he referenced his role in reviewing the city's comprehensive plan and development code each year since 2010. He has also served as the commission's representative on the community development committee. In addition, Moore previously served on the planning commission and City Council in Montgomery, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.

"We need to maintain the community as a viable economic entity," Moore said. "We need to cover the costs of capital improvements and be ready and able to adjust to any changes in the economy."

A retired manufacturing executive who also spent time in finance and oil, Moore now runs his own business consulting company. He enjoys travel and is an avid golfer. 

Moore showcased his knowledge of current municipal topics during his interview, adding that there would be a minimal learning curve if he did join the city's leadership team.   

"I've attended most of the City Council meetings and am familiar with the issues," said Moore, who described himself as a "fiscal conservative."

Council Member Shane Brickner nominated Moore following the executive session. Brickner, Keith Kopelson, Dan Dunne and Odin Langford all voted in support of Moore while Council Member Hugh Severs nominated Walker and cast the lone vote on his behalf. 

Moore is the father of Mayor Pro Tem Cris Kaminskas, who announced early in the meeting that she would sit out any discussion regarding Moore's application. Kaminskas did not cast a vote after nominations were announced.   

Olander announced at the May 6 council meeting that she would be stepping down due to conflicts with her work schedule. A total of seven applicants completed the required paperwork before the June 3 deadline, although two – Jennifer Ophardt and Kenneth Thompson – withdrew prior to the council interview. 

Olander defeated Haskins in last November's general election to win a four-year term. Boutz said Moore would be eligible to serve out the remainder of that tenure, subject to running on the ballot in the fall of 2015.
Tuesday's gathering featured five questions per applicant with a 15-minute running clock. Time remaining after the allotted space could be used for closing comments. City Administrator Katy Allen asked questions of each candidate. 

Young, a Realtor who has lived in Liberty Lake since 2004, emphasized that council "needs to somehow, some way, get the message out to the residents of Liberty Lake."

"The city needs to get the word out that we're here and we're listening to them," she said. "We're running a business for the city."

Matthews, a retired engineer, said the city should continue to prioritize public safety and greenspace while "keeping the burden on taxpayers to a minimum." He commended the governing board for its collaborative approach to a wide range of issues.

"When I first started attending City Council meetings, I expected to see a lot of contention based on councils I've observed before," Matthews said. "Instead, I saw people who discussed matters and work toward the good of the community."

Walker, a resident of Liberty Lake since 1998, has worked for the past 36 years in the residential real estate and mortgage industry. He said the role of a council member is "to do your homework, understand the issues and listen to the people."

Walker said the city "needs to keep moving forward" with an emphasis on jobs and the economy. 
"We need to understand the vision and direction the city has set out in the past," he said. "We can't just settle and become comfortable."

Haskins, a paralegal who works in the municipal finance field, collected over 800 votes in her campaign to unseat Olander last fall. She was out of town on business and answered her questions on Tuesday over the phone. 

"I learned a lot from my campaign and talking to residents," Haskins said. "Council needs to serve the citizens of Liberty Lake and listen to what's going on in the community."

Moore's first official council meeting will be next Tuesday, June 17.