By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Guy Wilson was elected mayor and two new members were seated in a reorganization of the Sebastopol City Council on Tuesday night.
In what could be seen as a political slight, however, Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer was passed over for the posts of vice mayor and vice chair of the Community Development Agency.
The post of vice mayor went to new councilman Michael Kyes, while new councilman Patrick Slayter was named vice chair of the development agency.
Shaffer, the only incumbent council member who has not been mayor or vice mayor, did not support Mayor Sarah Gurney in her November re-election.
“There is a majority on the council,” said Shaffer, who appeared obviously disappointed during a break in the meeting.
Wilson, who made the nominations of Kyes and Slayter, said political payback was not his intent, but he conceded that could be the perception.
“We have lost 20 years of experience with Linda Kelley and Larry Robinson retiring,” Wilson said. “This will accelerate the learning curve that they wouldn’t get if they were just council members.”
An issue in the election was criticism that the council’s attention was being dominated by a vocal minority, particularly in the long and emotional debates over the issues of SmartMeters and a proposed leaf blower ban.
Wilson, however, on Tuesday praised outgoing mayor Gurney’s inclusion of all points of view.
“There’s no such thing as a vocal minority. We are all vocal minorities put together,” Wilson said.
Wilson was also elected chairman of the Community Development Agency, which is made up of council members. All the votes were unanimous.
Robinson, a 12-year council member, and Kelley, who served for eight years, did not run for re-election.
Gurney, who has been on the council six years and served three terms as mayor, was the top vote-getter in the November election, receiving 2,574 votes in an election in which the voter turnout was 80 percent.
Kyes, a solar energy consultant, received 1,616 votes and Slayter, an architect, 1,567.
Council members receive a stipend of $300 a month, plus health, dental and vision care and a life insurance policy covering the time they serve.