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New mayor coming
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Ceres has been without a mayor since the Dec. 7 resignation of Anthony Cannella. That's expected to change on Monday evening when the Ceres City Council convenes for a special meeting to fill the unexpired term of Cannella's.

At 6 p.m. the council is expected to tap Chris Vierra, the member who has the most council experience, to succeed Cannella. Vierra would serve until Cannella's term expires in November 2011, unless he makes an election bid and wins.

Once the new mayor has been appointed from among the ranks of the council, there will be a vacancy that will not be filled. State law forbids any city council of having three appointed members and thus the vacant seat cannot be filled be appointment.

By law the council is requiring to make a decision on filling any council vacancy within 60 days from Monday. A decision can come as late as early March. By then it will have been too late to get in on the March and June election deadlines, said City Attorney Michael Lyions, but could put the matter to the November 2011 election to avoid special election costs. The council is attempting to avoid a special election because of the high costs; the county estimates a special election would cost approximately $80,000.

The course of action would mean the council would meet with just four members until the end of 2011. Operating a four-member council for nearly a year puts the panel at risk of deadlocking in 2-2 ties as well as possibly making it harder to meet with a quorum.

Cannella resigned as mayor to represent the 12th Senate District seat which he was elected to on Nov. 2. He timed his resignation to take effect the noon hour of taking the Senate oath on Dec. 7.

Vierra has been the most logical choice to succeed Cannella by virtue of his length of service - he has been a councilman since 2003 - and because councilmembers Guillermo Ochoa and Bret Durossette as well as Vice Mayor Ken Lane have stated they don't want the job.