Pamela Parker will resign from her seat on the Soldotna City Council effective May 27. Because her family is moving outside Soldotna City limits, Parker will no longer be eligible to serve on the council.
“I regret to inform you that our family is moving outside of city limits, and therefore, I am resigning my council seat effective May 27th, 2021,” Parker wrote in a letter to Soldotna Mayor Paul Whitney and the council last week. “I have enjoyed this opportunity to work with you and to work for the residents of the City of Soldotna.”
Parker was unanimously appointed to Seat B on the council in 2019 after running unsuccessfully against Dave Carey for Seat D during that year’s municipal election. She ran unopposed for reelection in the October 2020 municipal election and won.
Parker said Monday that her resignation from the council was something that she and her family took into consideration when deciding to move, but that ultimately moving was the best decision for her family.
“It sort of happened suddenly,” Parker said.
Parker is the owner of Everything Bagels in Soldotna and serves as the president of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. After this month, Parker said people in Soldotna can still expect to see her at chamber events, at her business and at Music in the Park on Wednesdays.
In reflecting on her time on the council, Parker said that she is most proud of how the city responded to the COVID-19, especially as it relates to the distribution of federal CARES Act funds. In all, Soldotna received nearly $10 million in CARES Act funding, which they put toward grant programs for local businesses, rent and mortgage relief for residents and financial support for local nonprofits.
“It was a tough year for everyone,” Parker said.
To the council, Parker said she thinks the perspective she brought as a young, female business owner and parent was valuable. Overall, she said she is satisfied with how “diverse” the Soldotna City Council is compared to other municipal bodies on the peninsula, but that she hopes the person appointed to replace her can bring another unique perspective.
“I’m sad to see my demographic leaving council,” Parker said.
When asked how she would pitch her seat on the council to someone interested in applying, Parker said to think of it as an opportunity to make positive changes in the community, especially if they have big ideas or dreams for the city.
“You really get to have an impact at the local level when you serve on council,” Parker said, adding that it is sometimes difficult to feel like you are making an impact on state or national issues.
In the future, Parker said she hopes to see more community conversations about things people disagree with. Specifically, she said she hopes people can be kind to one another and remember that it is easier to get things done when people start from a place of civility.
Following Parker’s resignation, the City of Soldotna will need to appoint the resulting vacant seat. In a memo to the council, Soldotna City Clerk Shellie Saner said that, per city code, remaining council members must appoint a “qualified” person to fill the vacancy within 35 days of the seat being declared vacant, or by June 9. The person who the council appoints will serve until the next municipal election on Oct. 5, 2021, when the seat will appear on the ballot as “Seat B, partial term ending October 2023.”
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.