San Luis Obispo City Council to appoint new mayor

September 8, 2021

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The San Luis Obispo City Council decided on Tuesday to appoint, rather than elect, a new mayor to replace outgoing Mayor Heidi Harmon.

Harmon will vacate her mayoral seat on Sept. 26, more than one year prior to the conclusion of her current two-year term. Harmon has accepted a climate policy advocacy position with a nonprofit and has chosen to give up her mayoral position, rather than fill both roles simultaneously. Critics have questioned the timing of her resignation announcement, which came amid an FBI probe into corruption in the cannabis industry that has targeted a local marijuana mogul from whom Harmon allegedly accepted unreported gifts.

On Tuesday, the SLO City Council voted 4-0 with Harmon recusing herself to opt for an appointment process, instead of a special election. In the aftermath of Tuesday’s vote, current council members, as well as other residents of San Luis Obispo, will have the opportunity to submit applications to become appointed mayor.

Then at its Oct. 5 meeting, the council will consider appointing a new mayor. At the meeting, each applicant will have five minutes to present his/her case for becoming mayor to the council. If the council reaches a consensus on whom to appoint, the new mayor will be sworn in.

If a seated council member is appointed mayor, the move will trigger a new appointment process to fill the vacated council seat. The council could then appoint a new member at a meeting later in October or in November.

Following Harmon’s departure from her mayoral seat, Vice Mayor Erica Stewart will fill in for Harmon prior to a new mayor being seated. In addition to Stewart, the other current council members are councilwomen Carlyn Christianson, Andy Pease and Jan Marx. Christianson has served on the council consecutively since 2013; Pease received the most votes in last year’s council election; and Marx formerly served three terms as mayor.

Had the council chosen to hold a special election to fill Harmon’s seat, the vote would take place sometime between Dec. 26, 2021 and Feb. 24, 2022 and cost an estimated $150,000 to $200,000, according to a city staff report.


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Myself

Not much to choose from this line up, sorry to say.


JThomas

Interesting that there isn’t one man on the City Council.


Buchon

Just the photo at the top of this article gives me the heebie jeebies. Just look at it! SLO has fallen so far in terms of the quality of its leadership.


While none are a bad as HH, none provide even a scintilla of confidence. May God help our beloved SLO!


shelworth

Gee, not much diversity is there?


Boldguy

Wish they would find and appoint a Dave Romero type candidate!!!


paragon

Yes! Bring back DAVE THE PAVE! :)


Eyes Everywhere

If Erica Stewart is going to throw her name in, she better come clean about her relationship with Helios Dayspring. Did she return the donation?


kayaknut

Harmon has certainly proven the point, what good is a mayor? Is it time to dissolve the mayor position, possibly add another council seat, this along with moving to a council by district and a rotating chairmanship seems to make more sense.


Rambunctious

Please find one that won’t take any bribes…..good luck with that….


slo-to-load

Surprise surprise surprise… the foxes in the hen house get to pick their new leader. I wonder if they will pick someone with diverse viewpoints instead of someone “just like them”.


MBvoter

We’re going through the same thing in Morro Bay with an open seat on the council and them being the ones to appoint. We like to copy SLO. They already appointed one of their friends who experience to the planning commission so sure she’ll move into the open council seat now. Wondering if we will hear more about the two on our council that attended the Dayspring event and received contributions. He got one of the two permits for MB

so sad