Couper Condit was denied a new term as a member of the Ceres Planning Commission Monday evening when Mayor Chris Vierra replaced him with Bret Silveria.
Four others initially applied when it was announced that Condit’s four-year term expired. Condit applied for appointment along with Don Cool, Scott Johnson, Jamie Hancock and Bret Silveira. Cool and Hancock later withdrew their names from consideration. The remaining three applicants were interviewed by the City Council prior to Monday’s meeting.
Vierra made the appointment with the concurrence of the council.
Silveira, a lifelong resident of Ceres, has been a deputy with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department for 29 years. The past 14 years he has been deputy director of the Stanislaus County Police Activities League. He coached varsity, JV and freshman football at Ceres High School from 1984 to 2004 and was a JV baseball coach from 1986 to 1988.
On his application, Silveria said he has considered running for office for several years and have been asked by citizens to get involved at a higher level.
“I believe that my time in the community of Ceres and my work in Stanislaus County have prepared me for the next level of leadership,” wrote Silveria on his application. “I am very interested in the long-term plan for our community and the planning and development of Ceres pare well with my logistics and planning background.”
Condit was appointed in April 2015 to fill the unexpired term of Dave Chapman. He was reappointed in December 2015 to a four-year term, which expired last month. The 2015 appointment was before his brother, Channce Condit, became a councilman.
Individual council members had a simmering frustration over Couper Condit’s voting record, in particular, rejecting projects without giving an explanation to proponents.
Condit caused a flap during the general plan update in December 2018 when he made an unorthodox call for the plan to declare its priority be for the city to achieve a ratio of 1.3 officers per thousand residents. City staff explained that public safety is a priority, staffing levels are a budget function and not appropriate for a planning document. City Manager Toby Wells also cautioned that to raise the public safety ratio from 0.8 officers per thousand to 1.3 would make “everything else go away.”
During the same discussion, fellow Commissioner Bob Kachel agreed that “the commission doesn’t have any authority to set budget priorities.”
Condit cast the lone vote against the general plan update.
One month later Councilman Condit mimicked his brother’s request with nearly identical results. Channce Condit also voted no on the general plan update.
Couper Condit’s term technically ended on Dec. 31 but he participated in the Jan. 20 meeting where members voted 5-0 on two new projects. One was the Doghouse Taproom and the other was George’s Grill & Gas, a remodel of existing George’s Liquors.
The Planning Commission is a permanent advisory committee of citizens appointed by the mayor subject to confirmation by the council. Meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. to consider land use matters such as zone changes, conditional use permits, variances, subdivisions and general plan amendments.
Other members of the commission are Kachel, Laurie Smith, Gary Del Nero and David Johnson. Since Condit was chairman, the commission will be tasked with appointing a new one when it meets Monday evening.