Depoe Bay City Council appoints new member

Charter boat captain Roman Smolcic takes the oath of office Tuesday evening at Depoe Bay City Hall, moments after his appointment to the Depoe Bay City Council.

Second time’s the charm for charter boat skipper

DEPOE BAY — Charter boat captain Roman Smolcic looked on briefly Tuesday evening as members of the Depoe Bay City Council submitted votes on whether to back Smolcic’s potential council appointment.

After his interview for consideration to fill a vacant seat on the council during its meeting at Depoe Bay City Hall, as council members’ votes were collected, Smolcic wished the council a good evening, then appeared on his way out the door.

“Actually, Roman, you’re going to want to stick around,” Mayor Robert Gambino said with a smile his face covering failed to conceal.

Smolcic took that advice, then after votes of the four council members physically present, Gambino, Kathy Short, Loren Goddard and Jerome Grant (Councilors Joyce King and Debbie Callender attended by phone) were tallied in favor of appointment, Smolcic learned he was the newest member of the Depoe Bay City Council a little sooner than he might have expected.

“You are about to be officially a councilor, so I hope you’re not busy the rest of the night,” Gambino joked.

With that, City Recorder Barbara Chestler swore in Smolcic, and he was seated on the dais for his first meeting to complete a term ending Dec. 31. The seat went vacant Aug. 15, after former Mayor Barbara Leff resigned her council seat Aug. 4 to focus on her duties as president of the Depoe Bay Fire District Board of Commissioners.

During its Aug. 4 meeting, the council voted to seek applicants for appointment to fill Leff’s vacated Position 6 seat for the remainder of its term. The council’s other option was to leave the seat vacant through the remainder of the year.

Smolcic and Fran Recht, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission program manager, filed to run on the November ballot for the Position 6 seat’s complete four-year term, from January 2021 through December 2024.

Earlier this year, Smolcic fell short in an initial bid for a seat on the Depoe Bay City Council. In March, the council appointed King to fill a council seat vacated by Charlie Bates over two other applicants — Lindsy Johnson Bedingfield and Smolcic. Bedingfield is running unopposed in November to fill the Position 2 seat currently held by Callender.  

Smolcic isn’t a stranger to Depoe Bay government, leadership roles and the issues facing the city. According to a resume Smolcic submitted with his most recent city council application for appointment, he currently serves as president of the Oregon Coast Charter Association and was a two-year member of Depoe Bay Harbor Commission.

Though it wasn’t mentioned during his Tuesday evening pre-appointment interview with the council, Smolcic’s term on the harbor commission ended after he was initially indicted in summer 2015 on two counts of racketeering and conspiracy in assisting another to violate Oregon wildlife laws in a fishing license scam case against Depoe Bay company Tradewinds Charters under its previous ownership. Authorities dropped charges against Smolcic as the case was resolved prior to trial.

Smolcic currently serves as captain of the Kadaho, a 50-foot Delta Marine charter boat specializing in offshore halibut and tuna trips and inshore salmon, rockfish, lingcod and crab voyages.

In response to his most pointed interview question from a councilor, when Callender queried him on the amount of time he could to spend on city council issues, Smolcic guaranteed he would make whatever time is necessary to serve the council to the best of his ability.

“I am a very busy man, and I do have a lot on my plate,” he said. But despite his busy schedule, Smolcic promised the council, “I will find a way.”

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