Max Vogt, a six-year Centralia councilor who most recently served as mayor pro-tem, was appointed mayor Tuesday evening by a majority vote of the city council. He replaces Councilor Susan Luond, who stepped down from the top post earlier this month and did not file to retain her seat in the November general election.
“Thank you very much for having confidence in me, council. As your new mayor, I’m going to work very hard as soon as I can get over the nervousness of this new position. I’m going to enjoy it very much and I’m very honored,” he said following the appointment.
It was a slim majority with four councilors — Vogt, Luond, Rebecca Staebler and Elizabeth Cameron — voting in favor of Vogt’s appointment, but it was enough of the seven-member council to lead to his appointment.
Vogt, the council’s senior representative, told the council he felt his work serving as mayor pro-tem had led up to this moment and that he was well prepared to lead as the city’s mayor. Luond, who nominated Vogt for the position, seemed to agree.
“There is no one with any better commitment to this council and the City of Centralia. Max has become the voice of reason. His words are well-thought out, reasonable and he backs up what he says with facts,” Luond said, noting his familiarity with the position.
With Vogt filling the role of mayor, the council also set out to appoint a new mayor pro-tem during the meeting. Councilor Cameron McGee was nominated by Elizabeth Cameron to fill that position, and he was appointed with unanimous approval.
Councilor Kelly Smith Johnston was nominated twice by fellow councilors to both the mayor and mayor pro-tem seats. Vogt’s nomination for mayor came first, though, and he was able to garner enough votes to become mayor.
She ultimately declined her nomination by McGee to serve as mayor pro-tem.
“I think I’m very skilled and experienced at convening and collaborating, and would like the opportunity to represent the largest city in our area in a way that provides leadership in our local area, represents Centralia well and acts as a convener,” she told council following her mayoral nomination.
Part of her pitch to the council was highlighting her work to convene a regional housing summit with other local municipalities, organizations and stakeholders later this fall. As part of a possible mayoral appointment, Smith Johnston said she would also like to help her fellow councilors with their own goals and individual work as elected officials.
These appointments will only last until the end of the year though, City Clerk Deena Bilodeau said. The council will repeat this process in January of next year, following the upcoming general election in November. The electeds appointed then will serve out their positions over the next two years.