Santa Paula Council | Selection Process for Council Vacancy

By Sheryl Hamlin

City Attorney Cotti reported that the council has a wide range of options including interviewing all twelve or holding a special election.

From the staff report, the following residents of the City of Santa Paula applied for the vacant Council Seat:

1. Rick Araiza
2. Harold Arsenault
3. Erin Bader
4. Margaux Bangs
5. Loni Kate English
6. Derek Fouarge
7. Derek Luna
8. John Marquez
9. Jose Melgar
10. Gary Nasalroad
11. Andy Sobel
12. Janet Vasquez

Three of these citizens are on other ballots: Rick Araiza (council), Andy Sobel (council) and Derek Luna (SPUSD). If any of these three prevails in the public elections and has been selected for the vacancy, the election takes precedence and the council will repeat the entire selection process.

Council Member Crosswhite suggested interviewing all for five minutes, evaluating the responses and picking the top four for further interviews. Mayor Gherardi said she preferred to interview all twelve in detail. After reviewing the time involved for the latter, the former was considered more expedient. Vice Mayor Garman suggested reviewing in Closed Session, a process not possible under the Brown Act according to Attorney Cotti.

Council Member Crosswhite also requested the candidate applications be published for public viewing. City Manager Rock said this would be possible after redacting private information.

The notion of scoring and resolving ties was discussed; the task of codifying the details of creating a scoring sheet was left to the City Manager to be presented at the September 19th meeting for review. Council Member Procter reminded the council of a previous situation where votes were recorded in a matrix anonymously. Council Member Crosswhite said either the votes are weighted equally with the most votes winning or a scored system based on points. Ties must be resolved with another vote or a public discussion.

Andy Sobel and Carlos Juarez, both candidates, spoke in comments about the process. Mr. Juarez suggested the writing sample submitted should be part of the voting. Mr. Sobel called this a ranked choice, a winnowing system, voting process which has been adopted in some states.

Returning to the initial two stage Crosswhite suggestion, there will be a full session which reduces to four candidates. The meetings will be Special Council Monday, September 24th at 6:00 pm for the full twelve interviews, which could be a four hour meeting, and Wednesday the 26th for the four finalists and announcement at a Special Council Meeting. All will be televised per the City Manager. The selection must be made per law by the 28th of September.

Discussion ensued about the questions for the initial five minute interview. Council Member Procter said that for commission interviews all candidates receive the same questions. Mayor Gherardi said she was concerned about candidates sharing questions particularly when these are public meetings. As to questions, Council Member Crosswhite suggested each council member create questions which will be merged into one list. The list will be kept secret until the 24th. Mayor Gherardi suggested a simple list and a more difficult list where each candidate has one of each minimally. The question as to where the candidates sit awaiting their turn will be researched by the City Attorney.

To watch video, click here.

The roll call vote was 4-0 in favor of the schedule, the questions and the voting.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

Get Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments