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Following the recent death of Councilman Mel Turner, the five-member Citrus Heights city council is seeking to fill a vacancy among its ranks.
With three options at their legal discretion to select, the four current members of the council opted during an April 27 council meeting to appoint a new member within the next 60 days, rather than call for a special election, or leave the seat vacant until the next municipal election.
Mayor Jeff Slowey and several other council members cited costs as the primary reason for avoiding a special election. According to the city clerk, estimated costs of a special election would be in the range of $460,000 to “upwards of $920,000.”
A sole resident spoke during public comment at the meeting, advocating that a special election would be most in line with principles of democracy.
“I believe it to be entirely inappropriate for the city council to select an individual,” resident David Warren told the council. “We should be allowed to vote on the next member of the city council.”
Council members were unconvinced by Warren’s comments and unanimously opted to fill the vacancy through an appointment process.
“I’m not willing to spend the minimum amount or the maximum amount [of a special election], quite frankly,” said Slowey. His comments were echoed by Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, who said the appointment process has a track record of successfully filling at least two past vacancies on the city council.
Bruins also said she agreed that an election would be ideal, but said costs prohibited the option.
The council’s decision was followed by a news release on Friday announcing that applications are currently available and will be accepted through May 11 at 5 p.m. Applications are available from the city clerk’s office at city hall, as well as on the city’s website.
To qualify, city council applicants must be at least 18 years old and be a resident and registered voter in the city of Citrus Heights. The appointed council member will serve on the city council through December 2018.
According to the news release, a special council meeting will be set “on a date yet to be determined” to conduct interviews with applicants. An appointment is required to be made within 60 days.
Application information: Click here
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