For the past nine months the Ceres City Council met as an incomplete body with one vacant seat and often found itself in deadlock tie of 2-2 votes. With Monday evening’s swearing-in of James Casey, the council puts that period of deadlock behind it, barring any unforeseen absences that may occur from time to time.
About 45 persons gathered in the Ceres Community Center to witness Casey repeat the oath of office administered by City Clerk Diane Nayares-Perez. He then took his District 1 seat and gave some brief remarks, thanking his wife Kathy, son Jay Casey, grandchildren and other supporters during the campaign.
Casey said in his campaigning he learned a lot about Ceres residents’ views and their concerns.
“They wish to see Ceres develop and grow,” Casey told the audience.
“As I address the business of the city,” said Casey, “I want to assure you that I will be honest, straightforward with all the issues and questions presented. I will work the best of my ability to insure that the city grows with the expectation of its residents. I look forward to working my fellow councilmembers, the mayor and city staff to live up to our city motto, ‘Together We Achieve.’”
Casey was elected on Aug. 31. The Stanislaus County Elections Division updated the vote totals with Casey winning 549 votes, or 41.28 percent; Laurie Smith taking 402 votes, or 30.23 percent; and Connie Vasquez coming in third place with 379 votes, or 28.5 percent. Of the 6,002 ballots sent out to registered voters in the council District 1, only 1,337 voted, or 22.28 percent.
Casey will serve out the unexpired term of Channce Condit, which ends in December 2022. Condit resigned midway into his four-year term after winning a seat on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.
The even-numbered council membership at times created a frustrating roadblock in getting things done accomplished as members deadlocked in 2-2 ties. The council attempted to appoint interested applicants to the vacancy but found itself paralyzed in successive 2-2 tie votes. The situation forced the city to pay for a special election.
Casey, 72, has lived in Ceres for 47 years and owns Casey Moving Systems of Ceres.
While he ran for the office, Casey noted: “Over the past several years I have noticed a decline in our City Council coming together as a team to ensure the best possible benefit for our residents. I believe I have the maturity and understanding of a variety of personalities to bring consensus to a group of people working toward the same goal. My experience as a local businessperson has allowed me to understand that opposing views and opinions can be helpful in achieving a successful outcome to many issues.”
During the campaign Casey pledged to focus on doing something about blight and code enforcement problems in Ceres.
Each member of the council, Mayor Javier Lopez, Vice Mayor Couper Condit and Councilmembers Linda Ryno and Bret Silveira each took turns to express they look forward to working with Casey and as a complete body.