Tyler Trimble likes officiating over matters, so a seat on the Montesano City Council at the young age of 26 seems like a good fit to him.
Trimble is running unopposed in the Nov. 5 election, so barring a strong write-in campaign will likely take office after the November elections.
Trimble, 26, has lived in Montesano his whole life. He’s a Division I referee for women’s basketball in the Western Athletic Conference and Big Sky conference. The position takes him all over the country. He said he started as a referee in high school and just worked his way coaching different levels of play until he became a Division I referee three years ago. He also officiates high school football locally. Trimble also worked as temporary summer help for the city’s Public Works department for about eight years.
Trimble said as a college referee, he’s an independent contractor so he’ll be able to set his own work schedule during the busy winter basketball months and won’t have to miss many council meetings.
He says he’s glad to hear that the council has already set up a Web camera system that he might use in the face of emergencies.
“I’m running because I just really want to give back to my community,” said Trimble, who graduated from Montesano High School in 2005.
Trimble would take the seat of Councilman Rich Klinger, who opted not to seek re-election. He’d take office in January.
Trimble sat down with The Vidette recently and answered a series of questions on issues facing Montesano these days.
Vidette: How would you grade the job the mayor has done in the past year?
Trimble: I think he’s done a decent job on things such as honoring our veterans, but there’s a lot of things I would have disagreed with him on, such as personnel issues.
Vidette: How do you feel the mayor handled the excessive crowds coming to council meetings, forcing the council back into its chambers after spending city funds for new speakers for an “overflow room” that no one wants to sit in?
Trimble: I think it was a little overreaction on the mayor’s part. I think conflict flusters him. The crowds caused for some chaos that he didn’t like and didn’t handle well.
Vidette: Should the city have terminated former public works supervisor Russ Burke?
Trimble: That’s going to be hard for me. (Trimble noted that he worked with Burke for some years.) But I don’t think the city should have terminated him.
Vidette: Should City Administrator Kristy Powell have been put on leave while she was under investigation for sexual harassment? (Mayor Estes decided against it, saying she was “too important to the city.”)
Trimble: Yes. I believe she should have been treated just like every other employee who has been under investigation.
Vidette: How do you feel about all the investigations and various personnel issues happening in City Hall?
Trimble: I think there have been a lot of investigations that could have been handled internally so that the city didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars. But it seems when an investigation happens and they don’t like the outcome, then they do one of their own.
Vidette: Should the city have sold its waterfront land on the Chehalis River for development as a potential RV park?
Trimble: I think it was a good idea at the time, but things eventually have to move forward and they don’t seem to be.
Vidette: Should the city do any planning or zoning for potential recreational marijuana stores?
Trimble: I don’t think the city should be involved with it. My personal belief is that we shouldn’t have dispensaries or stores in Montesano.
Vidette: Why are you running?
Trimble: It’s the next step in my career path. I want to be involved in city government and get a better understanding of the inner workings of municipal government. I want to do the best job I can for the citizens of Montesano and its employees.
Vidette: How do you answer critics who question some of the skeletons in your closet? (When he was 20 years old, Trimble pleaded guilty to phone harassment for forwarding nude photos of his girlfriend, who was 17, to other people).
Trimble: I was young. It was a stupid mistake, but I learned that if you ever make a mistake and fall down, that you can either stay down or you can get up and be a better person. I chose to get up and become a better person.