The empty District 2 Ceres City Council seat will not be filled by appointment and will remain vacant until the November election produces a successor to Linda Ryno.
Ryno resigned her council seat at the April 11 City Council meeting, after citing the stress on her health caused related to dealing with city leadership and management.
The council decided against filling the seat by appointment for two main reasons, citing how an appointee would likely not be seated until June or July and because the district’s change of boundaries for the Nov. 8 election.
City Attorney Tom Hallinan said the council had the choice of filling the vacancy by a special election or appointment or letting the vacancy ride out until the election.
“In this case of the lateness of the resignation, a special election option is not available,” said Hallinan. He also laid out a schedule for an appointment.
“There’s really no law on this that says what happens if you don’t appoint at this late time in the game,” Hallinan told the council.
Ceres resident Gene Yeakley favored an appointment from a pool of interested applicants.
John Warren felt the council should not appoint, letting voters decide who fills that seat in the fall.
John Osgood pressed for an appointment, saying District 2 will have no representative until a new member is seated in December.
The new District 2 consists mostly of Ceres west of Highway 99 with a “finger” extending east across the freeway to take in the area near Ceres High School. That area to the east will be eliminated in the new district.
Councilman James Casey pressed for the council to make an appointment “as quickly as possible” but was alone in his view.
Vice Mayor Bret Silveira said that any appointee “would only probably be on the council for about five months. I think we would be much better just to leave it vacant and then … let the people in District 2 decide, taking into account that District 2 will look a little bit different in November, which I think supports this.”
Councilman Mike Kline agreed, citing the chance that the council would find itself once again deadlocked in tie votes judging by recent council history with appointments.
Mayor Javier Lopez agreed with Silveira and Kline. The council voted 3-1 with Casey voting no.