January 6, 2012
Lisa Walters was asked to make her first tough decision as Battle Ground's mayor minutes after she was appointed Tuesday night. Honor her word or support an old council mate.
Her word won out.
Walters cast a vote for Shane Bowman that helped the council newcomer edge former mayor Bill Ganley for the city's deputy mayor position. The council voted 4-3 in Bowman's favor.
The council unanimously appointed Walters as the city's first female mayor minutes before appointing Bowman deputy mayor.
Battle Ground has a weak mayor system, meaning the title is largely ceremonial. City manager John Williams handles day-to-day operations.
The city's mayor runs meetings and serves as the city's representative at public functions. The deputy mayor fills in for the mayor when she is unavailable.
One day before the council vote, Ganley told The Columbian outgoing mayor Mike Ciraulo and Walters had asked him to serve as deputy mayor to smooth her transition. Based on Ganley's comment, it appeared he had enough support to earn the nod.
Walters did not return a phone call for Monday's story. At that point, she had not announced who she would support for deputy mayor. Privately, she had made a commitment though, and it was not to Ganley.
Walters spoke with Ganley three or four times about the deputy mayor position prior to Tuesday, she said via phone after the meeting concluded.
"I could never pin him down on it," she said, adding she had heard that he wavered between wanting the role and not wanting the role. The last she heard he wanted the position.
"I don't know if he was being modest or what," Walters said. "Maybe I didn't read between the lines."
Bowman had no such reservations about the role. He asked for Walters' support and she pledged it.
Walters described herself as "torn" about the decision. She has served on the council with Ganley for a decade. But she did not want to go back on her word to Bowman.
She joined Philip Johnson and Alex Reinhold in supporting Bowman. Ganley had the support of Ciraulo and Adrian Cortes.
Those who supported Ganley for deputy mayor said they believed experience was important in that role. However, Walters said after the meeting she did not consider experience an important prerequisite.
Ganley did not immediately return a phone call Friday for this post.