LAKEWOOD, WA – On Friday November 20, 2020, Councilmember John Simpson tendered his resignation from the Lakewood City Council to Mayor Don Anderson. His resignation is effective December 31, 2020.
Councilmember Simpson has been a dedicated and well-respected public servant for the city of Lakewood acting in a number of capacities for the City. In 2003, Councilmember Simpson was appointed by the Lakewood City Council to serve as an interim Councilmember filling Doug Richardson’s position while Mr. Richardson was on active military duty. Councilmember Simpson was elected to the Lakewood City Council At-Large in 2013 and then reelected in 2017. His term of office is not set to expire until December 2021.
In his letter of resignation, Councilmember Simpson indicated that he will be moving out of Lakewood which disqualifies him from continuing to serve as a Lakewood City Councilmember pursuant to state law (RCW 41.12.010).
Councilmember Simpson currently serves on the Landmarks and Heritage Advisory Board and represents the City as an alternate at the Pierce County Regional Council.
Councilmember Simpson, a native of Indiana, graduated from Central Michigan University (BA) and Pacific Lutheran University (MA). Mr. Simpson is a retired history professor (emeritus) at Pierce College where he taught for over 25 years. During his time at Pierce College, he served as faculty president, as well as on the College Cabinet. Mr. Simpson was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Award 11 times. Councilmember Simpson is also an award winning photojournalist for the Ranger Newspaper. He has embedded on eight (8) separate occasions to Iraq and Afghanistan with Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and Camp Murray soldiers. In 2007, he was nominated for an Emmy for his coverage of combat operations in Iraq, and he has won numerous awards for his reporting and photography. A retired Air Force officer (21 years of service), Simpson is a life member of the Reserve Officer Association. He also holds memberships in the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, the Military Officers of America Association, American Legion Post 110 and the Washington Press Association. He and wife, Melanie, have three children.
Lakewood City Council Position Vacancy Procedure
Under the Lakewood City Council Rules of Procedure, the Lakewood City Council has ninety (90) days from the occurrence of the vacancy to appoint, by majority vote of a quorum of the Council, a qualified person to fill the vacancy pursuant to State law. The Lakewood City Council will have until March 31, 2021 to appoint a person to this vacancy. The Lakewood City Council can fill this vacancy at any regular council meeting, or at a special meeting called for that purpose, sometime after December 31, 2020.
If the Lakewood City Council does not appoint a person to fill this vacancy within this ninety (90) day period, the Lakewood City Council loses its authority to fill this seat per state law (RCW 42.12.070(1)). The Pierce County Council would then have the authority to make an appointment to fill this vacancy in a subsequent ninety (90) day period. If this were to occur, Pierce County Council would have until June 29, 2021 to appoint a person to this vacancy. If no appointment is made by this date, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee may be petitioned by the Lakewood City Council or the Pierce County Council to do so.
Pursuant to RCW 42.12.070(D) persons appointed to fill a vacancy would do so until a person is elected for that position at the next election which a member of the governing body normally would be elected. The elected person immediately assumes office to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.
Councilmember Simpson’s position, like all Lakewood City Councilmember positions, is an At-Large position, meaning the individual is elected to represent the whole city, rather than a portion of the City, as is the case with districted positions.
Senior Policy Analyst, City of Lakewood