By Jack Mayne

In a surprise move, Kent City Councilmember Tina Budell announced at the Tuesday (April 3) session that she was resigning on April 13 to take an executive job in Chicago.

Budell said it was “hard for me” and “asked if I could serve on the Council until I relocate and was told by their attorney late last night that due to a conflict of interest – because I make budgetary decisions – that I have to resign…so my last effective day at the Kent City Council will be April 13th. “

The Council also proclaimed April as Sikh Heritage month and April 21 as Earth Day.

Budell wanted reelection
“It’s a hard decision,” Budell said, “but after being a contractor for 11 years and going year to year with a different employer this opportunity for long term stability and actually planning for my future is probably the best for me, even though I have made Kent my home for the past 12 years and it was the hardest decision to leave Kent and to walk away because I had already started working on my reelection.”

“Serving on the Kent City Council has been one of the greatest honors that I have had. Being that voice for people who don’t think they have a voice has been humbling, gratifying and – it was the hardest decision to make when I was given he option of moving forward with the job.”

While leaving the Council in a week, Budell said she was not leaving Kent until July, adding that she will donate to Kent parks foundation “what little I have left” in her reelection fund because “I want to have a little bit of a legacy.”

Mayor Dana Ralph said “you can take the girl out of Kent, but you can’t take the Kent out of the girl.

Boyce lauds Budell
Council President Bill Boyce said if he looks at Budell’s departure as a professional choice, “this is a huge professional opportunity for her in this new job … and I am glad about that. The sad part, he said, is that “Councilmember Burdell has been a really integral part of this Council … and she opened my eyes to a lot of things that … helped us think differently.”

Boyce said he would miss that. “You will be missed by all of us. We wish you well.”

The Council president said the city has a process to select a replacement and the city would work to make sure that potential applicants for appointment to the remainder of Budell’s term – the end of 2019 – are informed.

Mayor Dana Ralph said “there is no question, agree, disagree, that your heart and passion is not only for your neighborhood but for the city and that passion will be missed.”

He city biography says:

“Tina spent 17 years as a television newscast director at Northwest Cable News and KIRO TV before turning her attention to the technology field. Since then, she’s managed projects at large companies including Microsoft and the Walt Disney Company, as well as smaller, local start-ups.”

Employee accolades
Kent Public Works Accounting Manager Paul Scott is Kent’s 2017 “Employee of the Year,” said Mayor Ralph. Scott started as a temporary employee in 1990 and was accounting manager soon after. Scott said being employee of the year “is a great honor” and he thanks fellow employees for electing him.

Mark Pitts was named Employee of the Month for April. He started with the city as a temporary employee in 1999 and became a full-time storm and sewer department skilled maintenance worker.

The mayor also announced a proclamation that April was Sexual Assault Awareness month. An estimated 45 percent of women and 22 percent of men report they experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Mark Lester a member of he board of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center accepted the proclamation. Councilmember Dennis Higgins said the resource center is a “helpful thing for a lot of people.”

The mayor also proclaimed April as Sikh Heritage Month and she and Councilmember Satwinder Kaur presented the proclamation which said Sikhism “is a religion founded in the Punjab region in India and was introduced to the United States in the 19th century,” and now has about 25 million adherents from “diverse backgrounds throughout the world, including 500,000 in the United States.”

“Vaisakhi is one of the most religiously significant days in Sikh history, commemorating the creation of the Khalsa, a fellowship of devout Sikhs, by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.”

“Kent prides itself on being a city where people of all faiths and cultures are welcomed, respected and able to live in harmony with each other; and events such as Sikh Heritage Day celebrate the rich cultures and traditions that contribute to the unique character of our city; and on May 26 the Khalsa Day celebration will take place at the ShoWare Center showcasing the Sikh community through prayer, followed by a parade and food for everyone to enjoy.”

The mayor also proclaimed April 21 is the “48th anniversary of Earth Day; all life on Earth depends; and reducing waste and carbon emissions, conserving energy and protecting our ecosystems requires the efforts of every adult and child to help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world…”