By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Three members of the Santa Rosa City Council boycotted a special meeting called Friday to conduct additional telephone interviews with city manager candidates.
Jane Bender, John Sawyer, and Ernesto Olivares did not attend the closed-door session that began around 12:25 p.m. at City Hall.
The boycott follows two previous special meetings to discuss filling the post that resulted in some or all of the three council members walking out before the meetings adjourned.
While the three have not publicly explained the reasons behind their actions, sources say they oppose hiring a new permanent city manager now, preferring to wait until after the November election, when three of the seven council seats are up for grabs
The three, who are generally considered to be the council’s more business-friendly members, often constitute a minority voting bloc on key city government issues.
“This was not done as a protest. This was not done out of anger. I was very clear that I was not going to participate in this interview,” Bender said.
Sawyer and Olivares also said they made it clear to their colleagues that they would not be participating in the latest meeting.
“It will be no surprise to them that I was not going to be participating in the subsequent interviews of the candidates,” Sawyer said.
After the fourth council member arrived at the meeting, Mayor Susan Gorin announced the council had a quorum and closed the doors to the public.
The meeting lasted about an hour and a half, no action was taken, and the discussion will continue at Tuesday’s regular meeting, she said
“We’re continuing the conversation and trying to bring the council together to try to figure out where we’re going,” Gorin said.
The council is trying to find a replacement for Jeff Kolin, who left in January to become city manager in Beverly Hills.
Interim City Manager Wayne Goldberg, the city’s former advanced planning director, has said he not interested in staying in the post beyond mid-summer.