Atascadero council nixes Clay in filling vacant seat
December 12, 2012
The Atascadero City Council rejected the bid of outgoing councilman Jerry Clay to return to office and instead appointed former Planning Commissioner Heather Moreno to fill the seat vacated by newly elected mayor Tom O’Malley. [Tribune]
The council voted 3-1 to appoint Moreno, 45, who has two years remaining on her seat. Councilman Bob Kelley supported Clay returning to the council and cast the lone vote against Moreno.
Council members Roberta Fonzi and Brian Sturtevant said it was better for the city to appoint someone younger than Clay, 78.
Clay, who served 16 years on the council, received recognition during the meeting. City staff conducted a slide show presentation honoring him, and council members and public speakers praised him as well. Clay additionally made a short speech about his time on the council and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Clay and Moreno were the only two candidates for appointment mentioned at the meeting. Moreno announced her intent to seek the vacant seat during public comment.
“It’s a commitment I’m willing and ready to make,” Moreno said.
Moreno served on the Atascadero Planning Commission from 2008 to 2010 and is a certified public accountant who also runs a wellness coaching business called PeopleFit USA.
By filling the vacancy on the council, Atascadero avoids calling a special election which would cost between $35,000 and $85,000.