At their last meeting Davis and Council Member Jim Cooper were said the vacancy should be filled by appointment and they nominated only one person to fill the seat - Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires.
In all four cases the vote was tied 2-2. Although Cooper noted the deadlock and urged a council vote on scheduling a special election, Davis, who also rejected an idea for a weighted voting for the candidates, said the matter should be re-addressed.
At Wednesday’s meeting, one of the six candidates who was not placed into nomination said the council should consider making a compromise by appointing him to help break the impasse.
That candidate, San Joaquin County Assistant District Attorney Ed Busuttil believes that his commitment to serving only the remainder of the District 4 term could help break the Cooper-Davis vs. Detrick-Hume standoff.
Since Busuttil entered the appointment process, the 20-year Elk Grove resident has repeatedly promised that he would not seek reelection in 2014. By not seeking reelection, Busuttil believes that a middle-ground can be established.
Busuttil noted that by the time the special election is held in early June, the winner will be seated for only a year and a half and the cost of the election will be very high. “That will be financially irresponsible,” he said referencing the costs of the special election.
For Cooper, who has repeatedly urged the appointment process as a means of saving the city the $5000,000 special election cost, appointing Busuttil would meet his goal of sparing the city that expense.
While Davis and Cooper did not discuss party politics in their deliberations, Chaires is a Democrat with deep ties to the state party. Coincidentally Busuttil is a registered Democrat.
For his part Busuttil says since he will serve a limited time and has no need to build a campaign war chest, he will be unencumbered by the influence of various special interests.
“I have no allegiances to any particular group or developer, environmentalist or anti-development group” he said.
For Hume, while voters will not get a special election, the appointment of Busuttil, who embraces the role of a place holder, the people will ultimately get to vote for the candidate of their choice free of an appointed incumbent in 2014.
The underlying current during recent council deliberations seemed to be whoever was appointed would have incumbency advantages of name recognition and campaign financing when they run in 2014. Two of the more visible appointee candidates, Chaires and Oscar O’con, indicating they would run in 2014 if appointed.
Aside from being impartial, Busuttil said his experience in helping develop budgets for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office could benefit the council as they go through the annual budget process.
While acknowledging that if appointed his term and influence might be limited, Busuttil nevertheless said he would act with a long-term vision for the city. Busuttil noted that he plans on staying in Elk Grove through retirement and wants to see the city flourish.
“I am not going anywhere,” he added.