Clarification on City Council Appointments, Special Elections

In the comment sections of this and other sites, there has been much discussion about how a city ...

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.

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