VACAVILLE — The City Council got its first postelection rift Tuesday when Mayor Steve Hardy and Councilwoman Dilenna Harris clashed over Hardy’s move to change the traditional term of office for vice mayor from two years to one year.
Hardy had combined his nomination of Harris as the city’s new vice mayor with a move to change that position’s term of office, a move Harris did not agree with, saying it should have been discussed by the council as a group beforehand.
Up to now, Vacaville’s vice mayors were appointed by majority vote to serve two terms. Both present council members Ron Rowlett and Curtis Hunt had served two-year terms.
Hardy said he wanted to make the change to allow more council members a chance to serve as vice mayor, which would allow them to run the council meetings if the mayor could not be present.
Harris said she appreciated the nomination, but could not convince Hardy to take a step back on his one-year term of office proposal. When it came to a vote on Harris’ nomination to serve the one-year term, she agreed to it with a reluctance yes vote.
Earlier in the evening, Harris and fellow Councilman Ron Rowlett were sworn into their second terms of office. City Clerk Michelle Thornburgh was also sworn in as was new City Treasurer Jay Yerkes.
Yerkes beat Brett Johnson in the November election to replace Andy Suihkonen, who decided not to run for re-election. Thornbrugh ran unopposed to retain her job as city clerk for a third term.
Rowlett was the top vote-getter in a race, where candidates agreed more than disagreed on the major issues of preserving public safety, restoring a battered budget by passing two tax measures and finding ways to bring more job- and revenue-creating businesses to town.
All four thanked their supporters Tuesday for electing them.
Harris and Rowlett both vowed to work hard to put Vacaville’s finances and services back on their feet. They said the successful passage of the two tax measures, Measures I and M, will make the job somewhat easier, “but we still have difficult years ahead of us,” Harris said.
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