Wanted: One city council member for San Luis Obispo
November 24, 2010
Jan Marx is set to be sworn in as the next mayor of San Luis Obispo on Tuesday night. One of the first challenges for Marx, along with Andrew Carter, John Ashbaugh, and Kathy Smith will be to fill the empty council seat created by the election.
According to the city charter, “Pursuant to Charter Section 406 (Attachment 1), the Council by a majority vote of its remaining members (“the new Council”) “. . .shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy until the person elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term or new term takes office.” Should the new Council successfully nominate and appoint an applicant, the City Clerk could immediately administer the Oath of Office to the newly appointed Council Member. If the Council fails to fill the vacancy within thirty (30) days following its occurrence, it shall call a special municipal election to fill the vacancy, to be held not sooner than ninety (90) days or not later than one hundred and fifty (150) days following the occurrence of the vacancy. In this case, the election could occur no sooner than March 1, 2011, and no later than April 30, 2011.”
The earliest the issue could be discussed, according to staff, is Dec. 17 since the City will be required to post a legal notice at least 10 days prior to holding a council meeting. People interested in the open council seat may nominate themselves in writing: The minimum requirements for the appointment are at least 30 days residency in San Luis Obispo prior to the appointment and elector status.
If the four sitting council members are unable to agree on a candidate within 30 days, a special election will be called. City officials claim that using an outside contractor to run a special election would cost between $67,500 and $81,000. There would be additional city staff costs, pushing the final total closer to $100,000.
Thus far, two candidates have publicly declared their intention to file: Dan Carpenter, who finished third behind Smith and Carter in the November election, and Kevin P. Rice, a firefighter and local activist.
Patty Andreen, formerly on the San Luis Coastal School District Board, and Carlyn Christianson, who currently serves as Adam Hill’s county planning commissioner, are also expected to submit their names.
According to Rice, both Andreen and Supervisor Hill donated to the recent Jan Marx for Mayor campaign.