In what has become the final City Council meeting of the 2016 calendar year, the mayor and the council representative for newly-formed District Four were sworn into office this past week.
Mayor Richard D. O’Brien and council member Darlene Barber-Martinez were sworn in on Tuesday, Dec. 13, prior to the regular council meeting, the only one to be held this month. The Tuesday, Dec. 27 scheduled meeting has been cancelled, since it falls between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and there typically is little city business at that time needing immediate council attention.
Both incumbents, O’Brien and Barber-Martinez were unopposed in the November General Election and were appointed to office following a vote of the council after the election. Barber-Martinez has served as Vice Mayor over the past year; she will represent District Four. The council selected member Leanne Jones-Cruz for the Vice Mayor position in 2017 at the Tuesday meeting.
Recently elected council member Cindy Fosi, who will represent the newly-formed District Two in the city, was not available because she is out of town with a family matter. Officials have said she will be sworn in at the first meeting in January, when she officially takes her seat on the dais.
Fosi defeated opponent Anthony McKinney in the November election. Incumbent Jeanine Tucker declined to run for another term, citing health issues.
This November was the first election the city faced under the new by-district voting (within a specific geographical boundary) in the city.
According to the explanation on the city’s website, “the City is now comprised of four (4) district boundaries for the election of four (4) council members by district; the Mayor’s seat continues to be elected at-large.”
The transition to a by-district election began this year when the two even-numbered Districts (District 2, formerly held by council member Jeanine Tucker, and District 4 held by council member Darlene Barber-Martinez) were the first Districts up for Election on Nov. 8.
The city website adds: “the remaining Districts (District 1, current incumbent council member Cal Campbell, and District 3, which does not have an incumbent residing in that District), these council member seats will be established on Election Day, Nov. 13, 2018.”
Based on that timetable, current council members Cal Campbell and Leanne Jones Cruz, who were both elected at-large, will continue to represent all citizens of the City of Riverbank regardless of the boundaries set. That will change with the 2018 election, when their terms expire and when the remaining Districts, 1 and 3, are formally established.