By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Stern announces she will leave office in May

Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Stern announced Wednesday morning she will be leaving office seven months early to take a position with the Association of Oregon Counties.

Stern served as the organization’s president last year and was just hired on as its community development/transportation policy manager.

In a statement issued to citizens, staff and media, Stern said she will vacate her county position Tuesday, May 27, a week after the primary election.

“It is my hope that Commissioners George and Springer will then be able to appoint as my replacement a winner from either of the races for commissioner in the May election," she said "If there is no outright winner, I will work with the commissioners, if they desire my assistance, to find a suitable replacement for the interim.”

For the first time in decades, if not ever, two seats are opening simultaneously this year. That’s because the county’s three-term limit voted into law in the 1996 election is forcing both Stern and colleague Kathy George to step aside.

A pair of contenders have filed for Stern’s seat and four candidates have announced plans to seek George's.

Debra Bridges, victim services director in the district attorney’s office, and Mary Starrett, a freelance media relations consultant who narrowly lost to Stern four years ago, have filed to run for Stern’s seat.

David Russ, a real estate broker serving on the Dundee City Council, and Bill Willis, former Willamina school board member, have filed for the seat being vacated by George.

Political and public policy activist Sal Peralta and Stan Primozich, McMinnville investment adviser and school board member, also plan to seek George’s seat but are collecting petition signatures rather than paying a filing fee as the other candidates have done.

To see a see a copy of Stern's letter click here.

See Friday's print edition for additional details.

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