FAIRFIELD — Odd-year elections in Fairfield are out after the City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to return to even-year voting.
The vote means every council member may soon have their term extended by one year. The ordinance needs to be approved by the Solano County Board of Supervisors.
That may be a formality as two of those supervisors brought the item to the city for a vote. Supervisors Jim Spering and John Vasquez, who both represent parts of Fairfield, spoke Tuesday to defend the move.
The plan to move to even years was originally based on cost savings to the city and county, but most of the night’s conversations centered around bringing more people to the polls. City Manager Sean Quinn said odd-year elections have averaged 32 percent since 2007 and even years have averaged 71 percent since that time.
Spering said claims of ulterior motives behind the move are simply not true. He said the driving force is getting more people to the polls.
“If you can double the amount of turnout, it’s better for this community,” Spering told the council. “If getting more people to the polls is a sinister plot, then that’s what it is.”
One of those accusing the council of a nefarious plan was F.D. Crutchfield, who said it was “morally repugnant” for council members to take an extra year in office.
“There’s some reason. Something is driving this move and I’m afraid of it,” Crutchfield said. “We need to let the voters decide.”
Rod Ferroggiaro also spoke out against the proposal. He said he feels disrespected as a voter to see an elected official serve an extra year.
“I’m part of the 32 percent who cares who is on the council and who is mayor,” he said. “We voted for you to have a four-year term.”
Former Councilman Chuck Timm said even though he is disappointed that he can’t run in 2013, he understands why the move needs to be made.
“I would expect for you to do what’s right,” Timm said. “I will see you next year. I hope.”
Councilwoman Pam Bertani continued to ask legal counsel if there were any laws or rules that could prevent the move. After being assured the council was following the process, she said the most important thing was get as many people to vote as possible.
“Any argument that wants to keep voter participation at 32 percent doesn’t square with the Constitution of the United States,” Bertani said.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.