Buchanan gets council seat

Fire captain takes spot vacated by city’s new mayor

— The city’s newest councilman says he wants to be more than a spectator.

Jason Buchanan was appointed Jan. 7 to fill a vacancy on the city’s governing body. He was one of two candidates for the position vacated when Jon Culp was elected mayor.

Culp took office Jan. 1.

Kristina McIntosh also sought the post.

Buchanan, 29, said he wants to listen to community needs and be accessible to address them.

“I can’t be a spectator,” he said. “I can’t sit around and wish things were better.”

He’s a captain with the Okanogan Fire Department, but both candidates said the recent controversy over the firing of Chief Gordon Hennigs did not influence their decisions to seek the position.

Buchanan said as the single father of two children, he wants to give a voice to the younger people who live in Okanogan. He works as a department manager at Safeway in Omak.

He said he’d been interested in a leadership role in the community for the past couple years, and is interested in being useful “wherever needed” within city government and doesn’t have a specific area of interest.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until you get there,” he said.

McIntosh said she’s been interested in the council for several years, and is interested in tourism and budget issues.

“I know the city needs to raise more money,” she said.

Buchanan was sworn in by Culp right after being appointed on a 3-2 vote, with Council members Ken Thompson, Lisa Bauer and Wayne Turner voting for Buchanan, and Denise Varner and Jerry Paul voting for McIntosh.

Councilwoman Janet Wilson was absent.

Culp administered oaths of office to Varner and Paul, both of whom were re-elected in November.

The council also confirmed several mayoral appointments to boards and commissions during the meeting, including:

• Board of Appeals – Stan Carter, Alan Gann, Dale Erickson, Mac Torrance and Larry Darley.

Their terms are for one year.

• Planning Commission – Dennis O’Connor. His term expires Jan. 2, 2020.

• Board of Adjustment – Mike Murray, position No. 1, and Sean Johnson, position No. 2. Their terms expire Jan. 2, 2017.

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