Vacant Council Seat

Jan. 14: Resources for New Councilmembers

View helpful resources for new Councilmembers.


Jan. 10: City of Mill Creek Accepting Applications to Fill Vacancy on City Council
The City of Mill Creek is accepting applications from those interested in filling a vacancy on the Mill Creek City Council, Position No. 1. The appointment term will begin no later than March 31 and will expire with certification of the next election in November 2019.
An application packet is available online or in person at City Hall, 15728 Main St. Application materials must be received by 5 p.m. on Feb. 1. In accordance with state law, applicants must have been a resident of the City of Mill Creek for at least one year immediately prior to the time of application, and must be registered to vote within the City of Mill Creek.

The City Council will begin interviewing applicants at approximately 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Depending on the number of applicants, additional interviews may be conducted.

Jan. 2: Appointing a Council Member
At the Jan. 2, 2018, City Council meeting, the Council asked the City Manager to develop an expedited process to fill the Position No. 1 vacancy in accordance with the Council’s Governance Manual. The City Manager will present a proposed process at the Jan. 9 City Council meeting.

Jan. 2: Background on Council Vacancy
A City Council vacancy was created when Sean Kelly moved out of Mill Creek and thus became ineligible to hold office in Mill Creek.

There are two different Council terms affected by this event:
  • Council Term 1: Sean Kelly’s remaining term that ended Dec. 31, 2017.
  • Council Term 2: The new 4-year term for Council Position No. 1 that begins Jan. 1, 2018.

Council Term 1
Council membership is a function of state electoral law. While the Mill Creek City Council has broad authority to manage its own affairs under RCW 35A.11.020, that authority does not extend to removal of one of its members without formal legal action. Absent a resignation by Sean Kelly or a court order, the Council could not take action to eject a councilmember from his/her seat.

An image that says the Council Term 1 expired on Dec. 31, 2017Questions about Sean Kelly’s residency were first raised in September 2017. Sean Kelly’s eligibility for office was formally contested by his opponent, Carmen Fisher, in a hearing before the Snohomish County Canvassing Board on Nov. 17. The official ruling by the canvassing board determined that Kelly’s voter registration for Mill Creek was invalid as his legal residence had changed in the summer or 2017 and was no longer in the City of Mill Creek. No court has formally ejected Sean Kelly from his Council seat.

After the election was certified on Nov. 28, Kelly resigned his current seat from the Council (i.e., Council Term 1, ending Dec. 31, 2017), and reimbursed the City for salary received for the months of August through November.

Based on the timing of these events, that Council seat became and remained vacant for the remainder of 2017 (approximately 1 month) before the term ended on Dec. 31, 2017.

Council Term 2
Upon the election certification for Council Term 2 on Nov. 28, Sean Kelly was determined to be the winner of Mill Creek City Council Position No. 1. Carmen Fisher then filed a petition contesting the certification of Sean Kelly, naming Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel as the sole defendant. Carmen Fisher’s petition was heard by the Superior Court on Dec. 15, 2017.

In its order filed Dec. 27, 2017, the court declared that Sean Kelly was not qualified to hold City Council Position No. 1. However, the court denied Ms. Fisher’s petition to decertify the 2017 general election results and also denied her request to declare her elected to Position No. 1. As a matter of law, the City must abide by the certified election results and the judge’s decision.

While Sean Kelly is the duly elected councilmember for a new term in office, he does not reside in Mill Creek and is therefore ineligible to hold office under state law. The vacancy in that seat commenced by operation of law on Jan. 1, 2018.

The Council has observed the ongoing legal proceedings since November, awaiting a judicial determination before making any appointment to the vacant seat. As a result of the court’s Dec. 27, 2017, decision and the ensuing vacancy, per RCW 42.12.070, the City Council is now able to appoint a replacement to fill the vacancy commencing Jan. 1, 2018. The Council will have 90 days from that date in which to fill the position. The appointment will be a for a two-year term per state law.

Nov. 28: City of Mill Creek Statement on Councilmember Sean Kelly

On Nov. 28, 2017, the City issued a statement about Councilmember Sean Kelly’s status and action to be taken by the City Council.