By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Bruce Okrepkie has risen to become the new mayor of Windsor, despite never having been elected to office.
That’s because he was appointed to the City Council when the 2012 election was cancelled due to a lack of candidates.
“I love to kid the other people in the other cities,” he said of how he jokes with fellow politicians about how to get into office without running a campaign.
When Okrepkie aspired to the council, only he and incumbent Deb Fudge ran for two openings. As a result, the rest of the council decided to save the approximately $25,000 in election costs and simply appoint the two candidates.
Okrepkie, 63, an insurance broker and former Windsor planning commissioner, said this week he was honored to be appointed to the largely nominal post of mayor for the coming year, following a unanimous vote from his colleagues.
“I do like it; it’s very interesting and intriguing,” Okrepkie said of his council role.
He also represents Windsor at the Sonoma Clean Power Agency, the startup public venture seeking to displace Pacific Gas and Electric Co. as the county’s main power provider.
And he is the Windsor appointee for the Russian River Watershed Association.
Looking ahead to the coming year, Okrepkie said the Bell Village project, a large commercial and residential project, is progressing. Developers are proposing an Oliver’s supermarket and 387 rental apartments on the old Windsorland mobile home site.
And “we still have an Indian tribe on the outskirts of town,” he said in reference to the Lytton Rancheria Band of Pomo who are proposing to place 124 acres they own into federal trust, to develop a tribal housing project.
Okrepkie was unable to predict when the council might weigh in on the tribe’s request to access the town’s water and sewer for its project.
But he said “it may well come to us” in 2014 and he would like to be good neighbors with the tribe.
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.