Nixing costly special election, City Council will interview applicants for vacant seat

Julie Reichle

City Hall

The Piedmont City Council decided Thursday night to seek applications from residents interested in serving out the unexpired term of Councilman Tim Rood, who resigned effective Dec. 31.

During a 30-minute special meeting, the remaining four council members voted unanimously to set an application deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31. and to interview applicants — and possibly make an appointment — at a special council meeting on Monday, Feb. 7. An appointment must be made no later than March 1 to avoid triggering a special election which could cost the city time and money. 

The application process, council members and City Administrator Sara Lillevand said, has served the city well in selecting past council members, including current councilmember Betsy Smegal Andersen.

“I’m sure this process will bring out some terrific talent,” Mayor Teddy Gray King said. “I’m 100 percent optimistic that this will turn out well for the City of Piedmont.”

The council’s task is to find a successor to Rood, a Piedmont City Councilman since 2014, who at the end of the Dec. 20 council meeting announced he was leaving the council because he and his partner are buying a house in Oakland. Living in Oakland will disqualify him from serving as a Piedmont council member. The announcement by Rood, who had about a year left on his second four-year term, took other council members, and city staffers in attendance, by surprise.

The city had three options for filling Rood’s seat. State law requires that, after a resignation such as Rood’s in a city with a “charter” form of government such as Piedmont has that the council must, within 60 days from the date of the vacancy (Dec. 31, in this case), appoint a replacement to fill the unexpired remainder of that term.

The council also could have let the 60-day period to lapse without appointing anyone, which would trigger a special election to fill that seat. Such an election, Deputy City Administrator John Tulloch told the council Thursday, would likely cost between $100,000 and $200,000. Tulloch also noted that, by the time the election was held, the winner would serve only a few months before the November general election. Rood’s term ends in December.

The council also could have opted simply to choose someone to appoint, but that approach didn’t get any traction Thursday night.

So the council will now seek applications, who must be Piedmont residents, qualified to vote in the city and who don’t hold any other elected office or be an employee of the city.

Because the appointee would serve less than 18 months of a full term, whomever is appointed will be legally eligible to run for two full elected terms after this partial one ends. 

“If you have an inclination to serve your community in a pretty intense manner … this is a real good opportunity,” King said.

see related

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *