Riverbank City Council members have decided to fill the council vacancy created by the unexpected resignation of Dotty Nygard by appointment after hearing several suggestions from the public and the council discussing its own views regarding the situation at a regularly scheduled council meeting earlier this month.
An open recruitment and selection process began on Thursday, Sept. 12 and will close on Monday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. to fill the remaining term of office that runs until December 2014. Candidates that ran for office in any previous City of Riverbank election will be eligible to apply for the vacant seat. The oral interview date is set for Thursday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Riverbank Council Chambers, 6707 Third St. in Riverbank.
The discussion on how to fill the seat started with councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez suggesting that the next highest vote getter from the Special Election held in June should be appointed. It was then that Cal Campbell won the seat vacated by Mayor Richard O’Brien when he ran for the mayoral post.
Campbell suggested that he would like to see them pick from all the candidates that ran in the special June election and the previous election in November 2012, since they would have a bigger pool of qualified candidates to choose from.
Vice Mayor Jeanine Tucker added that they should appoint a candidate and said she definitely opposes putting the city through another costly special election.
“I like Mr. Campbell’s suggestion; I think that if we make an appointment from only those candidates that participated in the special election we are not really getting a true picture of how the citizens feel because not that many people participated in the voting process of the special election,” said Tucker. “Far more residents came out for the general election so I think that’s probably a good approach.”
Mayor Richard O’Brien suggested opening up the election to all residents that are registered voters because the last election had very minimal participation and the previous general election was approximately 10 months ago.
“I respect the mayor’s point of view but I don’t agree with it 100 percent because I feel our job up here tonight is to come up with the quickest, most speedy, fair way to fill the seat,” said Campbell. “The candidates that ran in the first election in November and that ran in the last election, we know them, we heard them speak, we have background on them and even though it would be nice to open it up to the community I would like to get this done as quickly and expedite it as quickly as possible.”
After several other comments from the council, O’Brien opened it up to the public for their comments. Everyone that spoke out was in agreement that another Special Election should not be an option. There were people in agreement with O’Brien’s suggestion and people that were in agreement with Campbell’s suggestion.
The discussion went back to the council and O’Brien put another offer on the table: instead of just selecting from the two past elections, he said that he would like to open it up to anyone that has run in any election for the City of Riverbank.
Campbell made a motion to open it up to all candidates that ran in any previous elections, Tucker seconded the motion and it went to a vote. The motion passed 3 to 1 with Barber-Martinez voting against the proposal.
“We are moving forward,” said O’Brien. “I do think there is some interest out there. I am hoping that we will get all the names in at the next council meeting so we can start the interviews.”
Applications are available at the City Clerk’s office, 6707 Third St., Riverbank from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or on the City’s website www.riverbank.org. The application and supplemental questionnaire must be submitted by the closing date and time. Late applications will not be accepted.
For more information, contact Annabelle Aguilar, CMC, City Clerk, City of Riverbank at 209-863-7122.