Candidates vie for open city council seat, again

Special meeting to hear from candidates is Feb. 24

Candidates vie for open city council seat, againBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

When former Councilmember Mike Mower resigned from the Ridgecrest City Council earlier this month, Mayor Eric Bruen called interested members of the community to submit applications to fill the seat.

City Clerk Ricca Charlon announced the applicants during council’s Feb. 17 meeting. The list included Peggy Breeden, Marhsall “Chip” Holloway and Steve Morgan – all former mayors and councilmembers – John P. “Skip” Goreman, William Jenkins, Alice Jordan and previous Mayor candidate Christian West.

Councilmember Kyle Blades asked what the city’s options were in terms of filling the vacancy. City Attorney Lloyd Pilchin said the council could choose between holding an election or making an appointment.

The next general election is not until 2022, and a special election could cost the city tens-of-thousands of dollars at $5 per registered voter. Council decided to undergo the same appointment process that followed Wallace Martin’s resignation in 2019.

Councilmember Solomon Rajaratnam asked what would happen if the council elected to do nothing. Pilchin said it could be grounds for a lawsuit that would likely result in a judge ordering the council to fill the seat using one of the two aforementioned methods.

Council is holding a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 to hear from the potential appointees. The meeting will be open to the public, but attendance will be impacted by COVID-19 safety precautions.

Candidates will be available during the meeting to receive questions from council. There will also be opportunity for public comment. According to Pilchin, at least three of the four seated councilmembers will need to approve an appointment.

Story First Published: 2021-02-19