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Grand Coulee mayor resigns 

                                                                                                                       

Grand Coulee is looking for more patrol officers, a police chief, a wastewater treatment plant operator, and a public works director. Starting Friday, the city will need a new mayor as well.

Mayor Mike Eylar announced his intention to step down from the role, due to medical issues, at a special city council meeting May 14, less than five months after being sworn in.

“Bills will continue to be paid, payroll will continue to be paid, decisions will continue to flow,” Eylar said at the special session. Councilmembers had just learned of his resignation moments before, in a closed-door executive session.

Councilmember Ruth Dalton will assume mayoral duties until the city council formally appoints a replacement through a public process. Dalton was appointed to the council last year and has served as the city’s mayor pro tempore. She is retired from Coulee Dam Credit Union.

The council has 90 days to solicit applications from interested Grand Coulee residents and appoint a new mayor, according to Councilmember Gary Carriere. 

After the meeting, Eylar said his health challenges had been ongoing for some time, and an appointment with a specialist last week made him realize something had to give.

“It goes against the grain to step away from something,” Eylar said, “but I had no choice.”

Eylar was elected to the position last November and began in January 2024. During his tenure, he advocated for greater collaboration amongst the four towns. Through the Regional Board of Mayors, he proposed and championed an interjurisdictional town hall meeting, covering topics such as a future emergency services district, and regional animal control. The whole-community town hall concept gained traction with his co-mayors, but ultimately had to be postponed indefinitely due to staffing shortages. 

His time as mayor also drew criticism, both from members of the public and city staff, particularly around the police chief selection process.

On that, Eylar said there was much about the personnel process he could not speak openly about as mayor, and resigning his position won’t change that.

“Even though I’m stepping down from the position, I’m not stepping down from doing what’s right,” he said. “It’s about always coming at your decisions with what’s best for the community.”

The council is scheduled to meet next Tuesday, May 21, for its regular meeting at 6 p.m.

 

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