Modesto officials said they expected maybe five people to apply for the District 5 City Council vacancy.
By the close of the application period Thursday, 13 people had turned in the application forms and questionnaires, some padding their submittals with résumés, biographies and letters of recommendation.
"It's great we had so many people apply, and the quality of the candidates was outstanding," said Councilman Joe Muratore, chairman of the council's selection committee. "It shows that Modestans believe in their city; they want to make it a better place and want to be engaged in the process."
Whether it's the economic times or simply a trend, officials said, they are seeing a wave of enthusiasm for neighborhood associations, volunteer work and other forms of civic involvement in Modesto.
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The council can appoint only one person to the District 5 seat. But members are thinking of ways to get the other applicants involved in city government or community work.
Councilman Brad Hawn said they could be considered when there are vacancies on city panels, such as the Planning Commission, Entertainment Commission or the Board of Zoning Adjustment, or they could be encouraged to work in their neighborhoods.
"Unfortunately, only one is going to make it," Hawn said. "I think the others are going to be looking for stuff to do."
The District 5 appointee will serve a year of the unexpired term of Councilwoman Kristin Olsen, who won the GOP primary in the 25th Assembly District in June and has no Democratic opponent on the November ballot. Olsen will leave the council in November to serve in the state Assembly.
The council decided to appoint her successor to avoid the cost of a special election. District 5 voters will elect a council member in November 2011. The seat comes up for election again in 2013.
The applicants include Charles V. Allen, a semiretired physician administrator; Jeremiah Williams, a cabinet business owner; Jenevieve Kenoyer, a retired nurse and senior advocate; Jerry Jackman, a retired social worker and brother of former councilman Denny Jackman; Gregory Matas, a sales manager; Joan Clendenin, a semiretired social worker and vice chairwoman of the Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee; John Nyberg, a pharmaceuticals salesman; and Morrell "Eric" Jones, a state correctional officer.
Others to apply were Todd Venturini, a financial planner; Branden Mello, an attorney for Damrell, Nelson & Schrimp; Marian Martino, co-owner of a graphic design business; Daniel Beynon, a financial analyst; and Stephanie Burnside, co-owner of an auto body shop.
Muratore, Hawn and Councilman Dave Geer will start evaluating the candidates and preparing questions for an Oct. 14 forum at Sylvan Elementary School on Coffee Road. The selection committee and District 5 residents will ask questions of the candidates.
A second forum is set for Oct. 21 at the same location. Both forums start at 6 p.m.
On Nov. 4, the committee will choose the top three candidates to recommend to the full council. The council will make its decision Nov. 9.
Muratore said the committee members intend to keep an open mind until they have interviewed and discussed the candidates.
"We have all been very careful to approach this in an open way," he said. "No one has made up their mind. We look forward to interviewing the candidates and going through the process."
To learn more about the applicants and their priorities, log onto www.ci.modesto.ca.us and click on the link under "District 5 Candidate Applications."
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2321.