By John D. Bennett
CALIFORNIA CITY – Filling a vacancy on City Council took up the bulk of the July 9 council meeting. The council also tabled action on proposed Off Highway Vehicle program fee increase and discussion of bids for an OHV Program Visitor Center / Equipment Shop.
“During the last three to four months, Council Member (Tami Marie) Johnson experienced some medical problems, her medical problems have continued and her doctors are trying to figure out what is wrong with her,” said Mayor Chuck McGuire. “Due to her medical condition Council Member Johnson can no longer perform her duties as an elected official of this city of California City City Council.”
Johnson submitted a letter of resignation on June 25, McGuire said once the city receives a written resignation from a current council member, the council has 60 days to appoint someone to hold the seat or hold a special election. The cost for a special election will be between $25,000 to $50,000.
“Currently the city does not have an ordinance on file dealing with the subject matter of replacing a council member who is leaving the council before their elected term,” said McGuire. “Because we do not have an ordinance, we fall under the rules the state of California.”
In addition to a special election, options for appointment include: having council members nominate someone for the seat with the entire council voting on individual nominees; setting up an ad hoc committee to review candidates and maker recommendations to council or have the entire council conduct interviews of interested applicants in open session.
Another option of simply appointing the next top vote-getter from the previous election was discussed and dismissed. The next top vote getters in that election were Warren Batiste and Jack W. Craig.
After council discussion and some heated comments by members of the public - some who felt a special election should be held regardless of the cost - council voted to ask for letters of intent from interested persons.
“If anyone is interested in applying for the position, please submit a letter of intent or your resume to the city clerk no later than July 18,” said McGuire.
A meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 20 for council to interview the candidates and allow candidates to make a three- to five-minute speech.
The meeting will be held at City Hall, 21000 Hacienda Blvd. and will be open to the public. The meeting will also be live streamed on the California City Meetings Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CalCityMeetings/
The OHV Program fee increase was pulled from the agenda on the advice of the city attorney to allow for a fee study, noting that the last fee study was done in 2016. Because that item was tabled, Police Chief Eric Hurtado suggested also moving the OHV visitor center discussion be moved to that meeting.
The next regular meeting of the city council will be on Tuesday, July 23.