By JEREMY HAY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Cotati City Council decided Wednesday to invite applications from residents to fill the seat made vacant by Robert Coleman-Senghor’s April 9 death.
Three people in the audience urged that a special election be held instead, including former councilman George Barich, who was recalled in 2009.
The council voted 4-0 to appoint a new member. Interested candidates have until May 12 to apply.
The new councilmember would serve out Coleman-Senghor’s term, which ends November 2012. They could then run for election.
The last councilmember to be appointed was Mark Landman, who in 2009 was placed in the seat of former mayor John Guardino, who had resigned. Landman ran successfully for election in 2010.
Coleman-Senghor died from a torn aorta. He was elected to the council in 2008 and was mayor for a year starting in early 2009.
His time on the council was marked with controversy and he was a favorite target of critics upset at how the city government was run.
Barich, who has often accused the City Council of practicing insider politics, called for a special election and said “the people’s voice needs to be heard.”
He said: “It would be unfair on the community to simply appoint one of your friends, one of your associates, one of your campaign supporters.”
Councilwoman Pat Gilardi said, “I don’t see where friends and cronies were appointed” and said it was “prudent” to appoint someone for the next 18 months.