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Wysocky surprised at losing solid waste post

Gary Wysocky


Santa Rosa City Councilman Gary Wysocky was stripped of his post as the city’s representative on the Sonoma County/City Solid Waste Advisory Group this week.

On a split vote that reflected the new balance of power on the council, John Sawyer was named to replace Wysocky on the countywide body.

The 11-member group is made up of two county supervisors and one representative from each of the county’s nine cities. It was created in 2009 to explore garbage and waste disposal issues, including the reopening of the county landfill.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Wysocky asked to remain part of the group because of the experience he had gained and his belief that waste disposal is an essential government function.

Councilwoman Marsha Vas Dupre supported that position, saying the subject matter would create a “really steep learning curve” for a new representative. Sawyer responded by expressing confidence that he would be able to “quickly come up to speed” on the issues.

Sawyer was named to the post on a 4-3 vote.

Afterward, Wysocky said he was “surprised” that Sawyer wanted the job because he “had seen no previous interest in the subject from him in my time on the council.”

Sawyer responded that he was similarly surprised two years ago when, shortly after he had been named vice chairman of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, the new council majority removed him in favor of Wysocky, a bicycling and alternative transportation advocate who campaigned on those issues.

“That came as a surprise to me,” Sawyer said. “To unseat that position and all of the influence therein because of the campaign interest of a newly seated member would appear to me to be shortsighted.”

Asked if the vote was payback for that move, Sawyer said it was not.

“Payback would have been removing him from the SCTA and replacing him with me,” Sawyer said.

As a councilman for the past six years, Sawyer said he is well aware that waste disposal is “one of the major challenges” facing the city.

Wysocky had previously said he had been assured by Mayor Ernesto Olivares that he would be allowed to remain as the city’s representative on the solid waste group and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority.

But Wysocky said he and Olivares had a misunderstanding involving the difference between the county committee and the City Council’s solid waste subcommittee.

Wysocky was unanimously reaffirmed to SCTA at the same meeting.

7 Responses to “Wysocky surprised at losing solid waste post”

  1. Dan Delgado says:


    What I find of concern in this and our other thread re Dr. Agrella’s retirement is the inconsistency in your positions. With respect to Dr. Agrella, you wrote in rather eloquent terms about his service to the community and college and that he therefore deserved better coverage from the PD when it came to his pension. But now, when it comes to Mayor Olivares, a man who has likewise dedicated his career to our community and continues to do so now in retirement, you have no problem taking cheap shots at him over a matter the only information on which was provided by a political opponent. What gives?

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  2. Admittedly the issue re: who is more likely to be confused about appointments is a “He Said, He said” issue that we can’t know. It’s nothing more than something to note in case a pattern arises, for either Mr. Oliveras or Mr. Wysocky. Similarly, it’s worth noting when council members rely on extremely narrow definitions of “payback” when suggesting that they are not guilty of “payback.” One’s assurances ring hollow when one does this. That’s not to say I know this is payback. But there is reason for concern.

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  3. Alex says:

    Wysocky has become so out of touch with his constituents it is just a matter of time before he gets voted out…he has become a huge disappointment. He will put special interest groups over neighborhoods or citizens…sad…very sad

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  4. Joe Public says:

    Wysocky should be taken off the SCTA, because he does get confused. He confuses what’s best for all of Santa Rosa with what’s best for the bicycle coalition.

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  5. hansutro says:

    “You are right Michael, how could an experienced council member be confused? But it would appear the confused one was Mr. Wysocky…… what a surprise!”
    Or Maybe not……

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  6. Dan Delgado says:

    I guess that’s one way to spin it. Another and equally plausible interpretation is that it was Wysocky who misunderstood the two positions. Yet another interpretation I suppose is that Wysocky’s recollection of his conversation with the mayor was less than accurate. Interesting to note that the comments in the article came from Wysocky. No doubt Olivares would have provided a different point of view.

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  7. Do I understand this correctly? Mayor Oliveras told Gary Wysocky that Wysocky would be on the county’s Solid Waste Advisory Group, but then gave Wysocky an appointment on the City’s solid waste subcommittee? I don’t mean to be disrepectful, but how does an experienced councilmember confuse those two very different bodies?

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