Riverbank council will discuss how to fill vacancy

jholland@modbee.comSeptember 8, 2013 

    alternate textJohn Holland
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: Agriculture, Turlock; local news editor on Sundays
    Bio: John Holland has been a reporter at The Bee for 12 years. He has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and previously worked at the Union Democrat in Sonora and the Visalia Times-Delta.
    Recent stories written by John
    Email: jholland@modbee.com

— The City Council tonight will discuss how to fill the seat vacated by Dotty Nygard, eight months after it struggled with another vacancy.

The council can appoint someone to the seat or call a special election. The latter would not happen until March or April and could cost an estimated $57,000, City Clerk Annabelle Aguilar said in a memo to the council.

Nygard, elected to the council in 2010, announced Aug. 26 that she was resigning. Her term runs until late 2014.

The council in January deadlocked 2-2 over how to fill the seat vacated by Richard O'Brien's election as mayor in November. He and Councilwoman Jeanine Tucker favored appointing one of the unsuccessful council candidates from that election. Nygard and Councilwoman Darlene Barber-Martinez preferred opening the appointment process to all eligible residents.

The 60-day deadline for making a decision passed, so the city had to hold a special election in June. It was won handily by Cal Campbell, one of the November candidates. It had the same cost of about $57,000.

The memo said the council could choose to appoint the second-place finisher in June, Diana Gonzalez, to the new vacancy or seek applicants from the general public. If the latter is chosen, a proposed schedule shows interviews before the council Sept. 30, when the new member could be chosen.

Should the council not make an appointment by Oct. 30, the special election would be automatic. It would be too late to include it with the regular election Nov. 5, so it would have to be on a later date approved for special elections by the state.

Aguilar said that could possibly be March 8 or April 8.

Also tonight, the council plans to present Nygard with a resolution recognizing her council service and volunteer work on health, environmental and other issues in Riverbank.

A draft says her years in the city "have been marked by exemplary dedication with the best interests of the community and its residents in mind."

The council will meet at 6 p.m. at Riverbank City Hall, 6707 Third St.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

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