Vacaville City Council
- What: Discussion of vice mayor term of office.
- When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
- Where: Vacaville City Council chamber, 650 Merchant St.
- Info: 449-5100
VACAVILLE — The question of whether the Vacaville City Council vice mayor’s term of office should be for one or two years will be fielded again Tuesday by the City Council.
Mayor Steve Hardy’s move in December to cut the term in half to one year has stirred controversy. Some community members contend his action violated the state’s open meetings law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, and went against the grain of the council’s vow to be as open as possible with the community.
Previously, the vice mayor was appointed by the mayor for a two-year term of office.
At its Dec. 11 meeting, Hardy proposed making Councilwoman Dilenna Harris vice mayor, but also included the proposal to cut the term of office to only one year. Councilmen Mitch Mashburn and Ron Rowlett voted to support the idea while Harris and Councilman Curtis Hunt voted against it.
Hardy defended his action, saying it would give everyone on the council a shot at being vice mayor. With Harris’ appointment, only Mashburn had not yet been vice mayor. Although not pleased with the change, Harris reluctantly agreed to serve as vice mayor.
Hunt on Jan. 8 asked that the matter be put on Tuesday’s meeting for discussion. He said the mayor’s move raised concerns in the community over City Council openness.
At the council’s first January meeting, several residents called the move political because both Mashburn and Hardy would be up for re-election in 2014. Two years ago, Harris ran against Hardy for mayor. If the office stayed with a two-year term, Harris would still have the title of vice mayor at the time she decides whether to run for mayor or not.
Some residents also accused Hardy of violating the state’s open meetings laws. They said that Hardy’s proposal was not specifically listed on the Dec. 11 meeting’s agenda.
The agenda did state that Hardy would be appointing a vice mayor. Vacaville’s city attorney said that Hardy and the city had not violated the Brown Act.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.