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Living in San Carlos May 25, 2011

Want to Serve on the San Carlos City Council?

by Chuck Gillooley

Call for Applications.

One of the results of the last San Carlos City Council meeting was to decide on the process for filling the vacant seat on the Council that was created by the passing of Omar Ahmad.   It was determined that holding a special election right now for a position that was due up for re-election in November was not a feasible approach.   And the other option was to leave the seat vacant until November, but the possibility of  2-2 deadlock reared its ugly head on the very first motion that the Council voted on.  So the decision was made to conduct interviews for a “temporary” Council person. Here are the details, straight from the City website:

Call for Applications
Interim City Council Seat
(June – December 2011)

The Position
The San Carlos City Council is accepting applications to fill the vacancy left by the passing of former Mayor Omar Ahmad.  The term of the interim City Council Member will be from June through December 2011.

The City Council is seeking a San Carlos citizen of 18 years or older who is familiar with the issues affecting the City of San Carlos, who can attend evening meetings several times a month and who does not have an interest in seeking election to the City Council following the conclusion of the interim term.

Statement of Economic Interest Required
The successful candidate will be required to file a Statement of Economic Interest required by the Fair Political Practices Commission (Government Code §87200).

Apply for the Position
To apply for the Interim City Council Seat, you can call the City Clerk at (650) 802-4219 for an application, pick one up at the City Clerk’s office, City Hall, 600 Elm Street, 2nd Floor, San Carlos or download it from the City’s website at

Application Due Date
Completed applications must be received by the City by Friday, June 3, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.

Interview with the City Council
The tentative date for interviews with the City Council for this position will be held during the week of June 6, 2011.

Application Form

Is “Interim Only” a Smart Condition?

All in all, this seems to be a very good solution to get the balance and structure back to the City Council as quickly and fairly as possible, so that they can get back to the business of being a Council.   However, I am a little puzzled by the condition that’s applied to any applicant: “…and does not have an interest in seeking election to the City Council following the conclusion of the interim term.” I understand the intent behind this condition – there needs to be a sense of fairness when any Council is replacing an “elected” position with an “appointment”, so as to ward off charges of nepotism or favoritism in the appointment.

But I don’t see the harm in letting this person run again in November.    The interview process requires that any candidate is to be interviewed by all of the existing Council members (at a minimum.)   That alone should eliminate any concerns of impropriety  — and quite frankly, this process applies much more scrutiny to a potential Council member than when someone is simply elected to the position unopposed.  So why shouldn’t the same condition apply to the unopposed candidate as well?  Because it doesn’t make sense in either case.

The bottom line is that we should be encouraging the best, brightest and most motivated citizens to serve on the City Council — we need more people running for Council, not fewer.  Why should we preclude anyone who might consider this position in the future?   This interim person should have the option to run again in November if they so choose — if they do a great job over the those 6 months, then they’ll be rewarded.  If they don’t, then they shouldn’t be voted back in — just like anyone else who is currently seated on the Council.

After all, that’s how the democratic process is supposed to work, isn’t it?


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