Clarification on City Council Appointments, Special Elections

Written By EGN on Monday, August 27, 2012 | 12:56


In the comment sections of this and other sites, there has been much discussion about how a city council seat would be filled should Elk Grove City Council Member Gary Davis be elected mayor. As a service to our readers, we contacted Elk Grove City Clerk Jason Lingren who provided some answers to our questions.

EGN: There are several comments on EGN regarding how a new council member would be seated in the event Council Member Davis wins the mayoral race and we would like to clarify things for our readers.

EGN: If Davis wins, it is my understanding he would have to resign his seat and that would create a vacancy.

Answer: Correct – an individual cannot hold two elected offices in the same municipality, the requirement to resign is prior to taking office, so feasibly a Council Member elected to the office of mayor could continue to serve as a Council Member until the installation of new officers (that would be December 12, 2012), they can also opt to resign as a Council Member at any point prior to that time frame.

EGN: At that the point, it is my understanding the council can do one of two things. 1. They could call for a special election,

Answer: Yes, they could.

2. Or they could appoint someone to fill the remaining two year vacancy.

Answer: Yes, they have 60 days from the commencement of the vacancy to make the appointment or call the special election. (technically speaking, the order under Government Code Section 36512 is to consider appointment first, then consider calling a special election)

EGN: Next question, if the council cannot agree to an appointment (say in the case of a tie vote on any particular person nominated) what happens then?

Answer: The Council would have 60 days to make an appointment, if an appointment is not made then they would have to call a special election (pursuant to GC 36512(b). It is not projected that Sacramento County would be having any elections in 2013, so the cost of a stand-alone, special election to run only a contest for Elk Grove would have an estimated cost of $300,000-400,000.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to EGNews for providing the correct inforamtion about this issue. Tell me why we need to spend 300,000 - 400,000 to replace a council member when that council member presumably KNEW this unintented consequence would occur? Why didn't he do the right thing an resign so we could combine these two issues into one ballot. THIS IS CRAZY ELK GROVE! Mr Davis doesn't seem to be looking out for EG's interests; only his own. Shame on you Mr. Davis. Perhaps we could use some of your warchest to defer the cost to us local taxpayers???

Anonymous said...

Mr. Davis is my councilperson and I am very disappointed to hear this. Not someone I would want for Mayor now...someone who hoodwinked the taxpayers and citizens of this community in not doing the right thing and resigning. Was also having a little problem when I heard a person named at his "Open House" who was waiting in the wings for his position if/when it was vacated. Clarify...not the person named, very nice person, but that someone was already being talked about as his replacement. First was attributed as coming from Mr. Davis (violation of the Brown Act) and later corrected as being from someone else in the room.

I'm sure he's writing a check now to the city to cover the spending of our hard earned tax dollars due to his "oversight."

Anonymous said...

How come no one knows about this pickle we've got ourselves into? This seems like there isn't any viable alternative if Davis wins. Maybe it's time to let Davis go...time for him to move to the Senate or Assembly....where the entire state can absorb the cost of his election mis-steps. There is no way the remaining council members can agree on a replacement member so we the taxpayer foots the bill. Also, I'd like a say in who represents my district. Oh, I'm fuming mad now.

Anonymous said...

Gary Davis just lost my vote. Don't know who I'm voting for, but I know it won't be him, and I've supported him in the past.
He should have stepped down when he threw his hat in the ring for mayor.

Anonymous said...

Elk Grove election history will tell us that mid term appointments are not unusual but the norm to avoid special elections.

When Mike Leary was first elected to the city council, and was still on the Elk Grove CSD Board of Directors, he didn’t resign to run for city council. Elaine Wright was appointed to serve out his term, and then was rightfully elected to the CSD two years later. There was no finer appointment than Elaine.

The Elk Grove USD Board of Directors appointed two new members this year alone; one for two years. No fuss there.

With that, why wouldn’t the city council do the same thing and appoint a replacement if Gary Davis wins? In two years that person may decide to run for election or not.

As elections go, two years is not a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the history lesson, but in these tough economic times, I don't want to sepnd 400,000 if there was an alternative available.

Also if someone is appointed (and that is a big IF) that person has a leg up on the next election cycle...and my cynical side thinks this person has already been "groomed" by Davis...so this politican's big machine keeps lumbering alone.

Didn't Mr Hume step down from EG city planning to run for his spot. I guess there is "history" on both sides of this one.

Peter said...

Yes, Mr. Davis has hand picked his replacement and announced it at his camapaign opening according to EGNews. He's chosen Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires. Nothing against Ms. Chaires, she may be a wonderful solutuion to this problem, but it has a bad smell of backroom politics when the replacement is already in place prior to the election. The possibility of "collusion" may rear it's ugly head before this all plays out.

Anonymous said...

Fact check: Sophia Scherman requested Pat Hume's resignation, as her appointee to the Elk Grove Planning Commission after he announced he was running against Rick Soares. Totally difference situation.

Anonymous said...

Look at what happens when you pick someone to replace you. Look at the EUSD board. We had to reach to the bottom of the barrel to get these two people. And look who they turned away. other people who were more qualified in budgets and accounting.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

While many may not like the selections the EGUSD made in appointing Mr. Rambo and Ms. Singh-Allen, it was a competitive process in that the board sought several applicants.

I am not sure what the city's legal obligations are in terms of seeking applicants should a vacancy occur, but it seems the process is being shut to others who might be interested. Well at least they (Cooper and Davis...Detrick and Davis?) are not wasting the times of people who have faith in the process.

Anonymous said...

According to Mr. Lingren's statements, there does not seem to be the competitive process where a council member is chosen through the same process as was used by the EGUSD. I also do not believe any of the candidates running for Mayor live in his district so they would not be considered for the vacancy. That means the process is closed to them being appointed.

In that case, that means for the people to have a choice and not be shut out of the process we elect someone other than
Mr. Davis for Mayor. There's always more than one way for the people to have their say and clean up this unfortunate process we have been placed in.

Anonymous said...

Worse situation with this "package deal" is the public doesn't get to vet this replacement or ask questions on where she stands on the issues. After all, isn't the Council supposed to be our "representative"? I say make the #2 finisher in the Mayor election the replacement.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of assumptions posted here without going directly to the State of California Government Code.

Additionally the Elk Grove City Council has always done any and all appointments by the selection process.

If the council opts out of a special election if Gary Davis wins the Mayoral race, State law does not prescribe any procedure for selection of an appointee. Therefore, the City Council may choose any selection method it desires. The Council may choose to solicit applications and may interview applicants (at an open and public meeting), either collectively or one-on-one, similar to the process that the Council uses when it interviews applicants for appointed commissions and advisory committees.

There is no way the citizenry would allow the Council to appoint any council vacancy without going through a selection process of soliciting any and all qualified applicants – Only residents of District 4 if Davis were to win the Mayoral election – through a sound democratic process handled directly through the City Clerk’s office.

Anonymous said...

First off, I was at the Davis campaign kick off and he said nothing about supporting Nancy Chaires. Second, these nasty comments are juvenile.

If the concern about cost was genuine, then the comments would be focussed on making an appointment once Davis is elected. To say that he should not be Mayor because of the potential special election is ludicrous. There is no more qualified candidate than Davis.

The City's first directly elected Mayor needs to be someone with a track record of getting stuff done and the capacity to carry out a positive vision for the future. Davis is the only candidate that can do this.

Unknown said...

To the last Anonymous poster, read all the comments and pay particular attention to style/grammer, etc., rather than the substance. You'll find they are postings from about five different individuals in totality. Some serious infectious multiple personality disorder or people who want to support Lynn Wheat by spewing lies and hatred.

Regina Hawkins

Anonymous said...

I think the over-paranoid poster has it wrong. I don't see any mention of Lynn Wheat on any of these messages? In fact the topic has nothing to do with the Mayor race itself. If this obvious supporter of Davis is connected in any way to his campaign, I would say it sounds like the Davis camp is running a little scared?

Ben H said...

Unknown:

What exactly are the lies and hatred that are being spewed? Sounds like someone is acting a bit defensive.

I read some opinions of what people think about the money that may have to be spent for a special election due to Councilman Davis' choice to run for mayor.

The arguments to me seem to me to be valid and thought provoking. This is an interesting topic and I'd like to know how Gary Davis responds to it.