The volunteer council held its annual election at the MLK F.A.M.E. Community Center June 20. All of the council’s existing officers and board members were re-elected, and voters elected a secretary and three additional board members.
It was the first election under the new council bylaws passed April 19, which expanded the size of the board and made the limits on members’ powers more explicit. It was also the first election of a board entirely unlike the Madison Valley Community Council of more than a year ago, following the 2016 election of three council newcomers and the subsequent resignation of co-President Lindy Wishard and Secretary Catherine Nunneley.
The re-elected officers were President Penelope Karovsky, absent due to a personal emergency, Vice President Dana Hanna, Treasurer Cherie Sato, and board member Sarah Trethewey, who was specially elected to fill the seat under the new bylaws on April 19.
Diane Zahn was elected to the position of council secretary. Zahn served for 19 years as the secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 before she retired in 2014. She is presently serving in the second year of a two-year term as a member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board, a position to which she was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee. She has lived in Madison Valley for 12 years.
“I really think it’s important that people be involved in their community,” Zahn said. “I love our neighborhood.”
Newly elected general board members on the ballot were Ron Flynn and Jennifer Goodwin. Kevin Murphy was elected after submitting himself as a write-in candidate. Paddy McDonald, who did not submit himself as a candidate, was elected to an empty seat with two write-in votes.
Flynn is a 40-year resident of Madison Valley who currently serves as the facilities manager of the MLK F.A.M.E. Community Center and president of the F.A.M.E. Housing Board. A retired commercial real estate broker, he helped facilitate the purchase of the Community Center from Seattle Public Schools in 2011. Prior to his career in real estate, he was involved with the National Labor Relations Board.
“I can be pretty outspoken, which I hope could be of benefit to the broader neighborhood,” Flynn said.
Goodwin has lived in Madison Valley since 1987, and previously served on the Community Council from 1987 to 1991, a time period in which the council was concerned about increased crime in the neighborhood, she said. After raising two sons, she said she wanted to once again become involved in the community.
“We need to think about our safety and traffic situation,” Goodwin said.
Murphy is a 14-year resident who, like several current Community Council board members, became heavily involved with the group Save Madison Valley last year. At the most recent public comment meeting for a proposed apartment building and PCC Market on East Madison Street, he expressed concern over the project’s potential to increase traffic, and how traffic could compromise the safety of his two small children.
“I care about keeping this place a place to raise a family,” he said. “I think there’s tons of opportunity to have our voice heard.”
McDonald, a software engineer manager who has also been involved with Save Madison Valley and other community causes, did not submit himself as a write-in candidate. However, he noted that he had planned to express his interest for one of the empty seats at a future meeting of the council. He accepted the position.
One empty seat remains on the council’s board of directors. If candidates indicate interest in the seat, an election will be held at the council’s next meeting.
The date of the next meeting had not been set. The council currently meets quarterly, but may switch to a monthly schedule in the near future, Hanna said.