The Nevada City Council will have only four members through the November election, opting to leave the seat of former Mayor Reinette Senum empty until voters fill it.
The council voted 3 to 1 on Thursday to leave the seat empty. Mayor Erin Minett opposed.
Unless the council changes course, the empty seat will remain until the election is certified — expected in some four months.
A proposed resolution had called for appointing former council member David Parker, who in March lost his reelection bid. Council members Daniela Fernandez and Doug Fleming opposed the appointment, instead preferring to let the voters fill the spot.
“We have three months,” Fleming said. “It’s not that long.”
Minett, who favored the appointment, said a council member could grow sick and be unavailable to serve. Additionally, Parker has no plans to run for the office, and would gain no advantage in the election as an incumbent.
“We need to be able to function as best we can,” Minett said.
Councilman Duane Strawser initially favored appointing someone to the seat, saying he didn’t want a series of tied votes blocking council business. However, he later said he’d decline to make a motion to fill the spot, adding the council could revisit the issue before the election.
One reason for the appointment is the current composition of the city’s Planning Commission. The council must wait 90 days from Senum’s resignation before it can appoint someone to that panel.
The commission currently has four members. City Planner Amy Wolfson said it’s common for a commissioner to recuse themselves, leaving only three voting members. In those cases, a vote must be unanimous to pass.
“I’m confident we can all work together on issues and make them work,” Fleming said.
To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email [email protected] or call 530-477-4239.