The Ashland City Council unanimously selected Jackie Bachman, a former director of special education for a California school district, to fill a vacant council seat Tuesday night.
Councilor Dennis Slattery said before voting that the selection process “is not a popularity contest.”
“We are adding somebody to our team who could work well with others, … who can put up with meetings and sacrifice hours and hours of time,” Slattery said. “This is not a ‘power’ position. … It is a rewarding but also intense experience.”
Bachman, who serves on the Housing and Human Services Commission and was the Senior Program ad hoc committee chair, won handily, as all four councilors voted for her to replace Greg Lemhouse. Lemhouse resigned in February to avoid potential conflicts with his new lobbying job and to spend more time with family.
Tonya Graham and George Kramer were the other two finalists selected by councilors from among applicants.
Bachman moved to Ashland three years ago from California with her husband, Jim. She worked as a director of special education in San Marcos Unified School District near San Diego, according to her personal Facebook page.
In Ashland, Bachman has been involved with the Senior Center — before and after the controversial vote to reorganize in August 2017.
She most recently took the lead as chair of an ad hoc committee, drafting 34 recommendations for the Parks and Recreation Commission to consider for the Senior Program, which include making the program a separate division, hiring a superintendent to oversee and expand the program, and increasing personnel of the Senior Center by one full-time position.
Parks staff and two parks commissioners commended the committee’s works and Bachman’s leadership a number of times.
Councilor Stefani Seffinger said Bachman stood out as a leader as they worked together on the Senior Program ad hoc committee.
“She’s very efficient, diligent and positive in her approach,” Seffinger said. “She did a lot of research on the issue, and when I gave her materials, she actually read it, which is impressive to me.”
Seffinger also added that how Bachman volunteered to spearhead a committee on the Senior Program is “a concrete example” of her dedication to the community, because “dealing with the Senior Center issue wasn’t an easy thing.”
Bachman also attends most City Council meetings with her husband. The couple is also often at various other city meetings.
Seffinger said she believes Bachman will bring a fresh perspective to the council with her knowledge and concern for the retiree population in Ashland.
“It’s important for the city to have a historic aspect in the council,” she said. “But it’s not bad to have some new aspects that will have the retiree population’s interest in mind.”
Bachman will be sworn in before the next council meeting on April 2.
The council still needs to fill Traci Darrow’s vacant seat after she resigned this month. Darrow said she is moving outside of the city’s limits — one of the requirements to hold a council seat.
Applications are open and available on the city’s website. Deadline for applications is April 9.
Applicants for the previous council seat are eligible to re-apply, the city recorder said.
The council plans to make its finalist selection on April 17 and vote on a replacement on May 4.
Both council seats will be up for election in November to fill out the terms of the councilors who resigned.
—Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or tnguyen@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.