A 28-year-old Richland man is running for the city council because he thinks there are too many retired people on the council and that someone should be there to speak for younger people.
But his 70-year-old incumbent opponent said he puts in 100 to 120 hours a month -- or almost the equivalent of a full-time job -- not only attending council meetings, but also serving on committees, attending events, researching issues and serving as liaisons to city boards and commissions, and questions whether someone with a job and family could keep up.
Incumbent Phil Lemley touts the hours he puts in, his experience and his perfect attendance since being elected two years ago to replace longtime Councilwoman Rita Mazur.
"Would it be nice to have a younger person? It would," Lemley said. "A young person with a family -- it is not a living wage to do this job. You need to put in time to do this job. ... It lends itself more to retired people because I have the time to do this."
Opponent Phillip Joyce works part-time for the Tri-City Herald as a bundle dropper, and said he believes his part-time hours and night schedule would allow him to perform the duties required of a council member.
Lemley is retired from Bechtel, where he worked with an electric group on construction of the vitrification plant.
He also has worked for AT&T and Lucent Technologies Inc., and owned his own utility construction business and a company that franchised and built cable TV systems.
Lemley said his experience in large corporations and small business, sitting on both sides of the union negotiating table and dealing with foreign governments give him the experience to serve the citizens of Richland well.
He describes himself as fiscally conservative, and believes the city has been on a course of spending money wisely in recent years.
"I don't like to spend money foolishly," Lemley said. "I'm very frugal with my money, and I like to be just as frugal with the citizens' money."
A native of Hope, Ark., Lemley moved to Richland 10 years ago. He is active in numerous community organizations, voluntarily mows the lawn at a small park in his neighborhood to help with maintenance and led the effort to raise money for a police memorial outside of the Richland Police Department.
Before being elected to the council, he was a member of the city's Parks & Recreation Commission.
Lemley said he would like to see the city continue to manage its money wisely and become a regional center for health care, recreation, retirement, government, industry and education.
He said the city also must maintain its quality of life to remain competitive.
He opposed raising park impact fees at a recent meeting because he thought that would harm the city's economic competitiveness.
Joyce is a second generation Richland resident and said he wants to give back to the community by serving on the council.
He volunteers for his church and said he encourages other people to be active in the community. He has not served on any city boards or commissions. He previously ran for city council in 2005 at age 22, but lost in the primary.
He said he chose to run against Lemley because no one else had filed in the race, and he thought voters should have a a choice.
"I believe he's doing the best he can do," Joyce said of Lemley. "I feel the council mostly is people at retirement age. I think we need some new blood to give a new perspective on what's happening in Richland. I'm on the cusp of becoming married and starting a family. I feel like I would be a good candidate to be on the city council."
If elected, Joyce would like to see the city work to bring in more family-wage jobs and diversify its economy.
He also would like to see more maintenance of existing streets, parks and city services before the city builds new ones.
The council position pays $1,038 a month.
Council terms typically are four years, but the winner of whichever race is closest in the Nov. 8 general election will get a two-year term.
That is how Richland's charter ensures a majority of the council is up for election every two years.
One the web:
-- Phil Lemley: www.phillemley.com
-- Phillip Joyce: http://on.fb.me/JoyceFacebook
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; email@example.com