At their first meeting of the New Year Tuesday night, members of the Kent City Council took their oaths of office followed by the election of a new Council President.

Mayor Suzette Cooke swore in newly-elected Tina Budell to Council Position No. 1.  Budell joins the Council after serving as president of the North Park Neighborhood Council. Budell is an information technology project coordinator at Kforce, Inc., a professional staffing services firm. She lives in the North Park neighborhood in downtown Kent.

Budell replaces former Councilmember Deborah Ranniger who opted not to seek reelection.

Cooke also swore in Brenda Fincher to Council Position No. 6. After being appointed to fill a vacancy last February, Fincher successfully ran for the position in November.

Fincher is an administrative assistant at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in downtown Kent and lives on the West Hill.

Reelected incumbents sworn in were Councilmembers Bill Boyce, Dana Ralph and Les Thomas.

Boyce was unanimously elected Council President for a two-year term.

The Council President’s job is to set the Council meeting agendas, attend regional meetings to represent the Council’s views, and to represent the city of Kent as Mayor Pro Tem in the Mayor’s absence.

Boyce thanked the Council for the trust placed in him, and promised his best efforts to keep the city moving forward.

“We are one team. None of us is stronger than all of us. I look forward to keeping us focused on the big picture and working together to do what’s best for Kent,” Boyce said.

In his first action as Council President, Boyce announced the following Council Committee Chairs* and assignments:

City Council Committees

  • Economic and Community Development – Bill Boyce*, Jim Berrios, Tina Budell
  • Operations – Dana Ralph*, Bill Boyce, Les Thomas
  • Parks and Human Services – Brenda Fincher*, Tina Budell, Dennis Higgins
  • Public Safety – Jim Berrios*, Dana Ralph, Les Thomas
  • Public Works – Dennis Higgins*, Brenda Fincher, Dana Ralph

Special Committee Appointments

  • Arts Commission – Dana Ralph
  • Firemen’s Relief and Pension Board – Dana Ralph
  • Human Services Commission – Dennis Higgins
  • Lodging Tax Advisory Committee – Bill Boyce
  • Regional Fire Authority Board – Les Thomas, Bill Boyce, Dennis Higgins

Outgoing Council President Dana Ralph said Boyce has the leadership qualities required for this position. “He brings patience and wisdom to the role. I know he’ll do a great job in keeping the group together,” Ralph said.

Boyce is human resources manager at the Boeing Company and lives in the Meridian neighborhood on Kent’s East Hill.

Kent City Council members are elected to four-year terms.  Their terms are staggered, with elections held every odd-numbered year.  The Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month in Council Chambers at City Hall.