By MARY CALLAHAN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sebastopol City Council will pay public tribute next week to Councilman Michael Kyes, who died early Sunday, part-way through his fourth year in elected office.
Residents will be permitted to remember the one-time mayor during a tribute period being scheduled into the regular June 3 council meeting, City Clerk Mary Gourley said.
But even though the news of Kyes’ unexpected death remains fresh — the flag at City Hall still flying at half-staff — the council moved forward Tuesday with plans to replace him.
Council members said the volume of pending city business is so pronounced that they were eager to ensure a full council was on-hand as soon as possible to meet the challenges.
The plan right now is to select a new council member from among willing applicants June 19.
“The public deserves a fully functional city council that can make decisions,” Mayor Robert Jacob said. “We have a lot of important issues” to address.
Kyes, 65, was elected in 2010 and served as mayor last year. He already had signaled his intention to run for re-election in November when he suffered a fatal aortic aneurysm Saturday evening and was rushed to the hospital.
Under state law, council members have the option to appoint someone to complete his term or call a special election, permitting voters to elect a replacement. The earliest an election could be held, however, would be November, when Kyes’ seat already is up for election. Waiting for an election also would mean the vacancy persisted until the first December council meeting, when new members are seated.
In the meantime, the council’s four remaining members would have additional committee responsibility and could face the prospect of split, 2-2 votes, Councilwoman Sarah Glade Gurney said.
So council members agreed unanimously to fill the position by appointment instead, outlining a process they pledged would be as transparent to the public as possible.
Candidates must be at least 18, be registered to vote and live within city limits. To apply, they also must submit an application, resume and letter of interest by 3 p.m. June 12.
The council will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. June 19 to interview candidates and make a selection that night so the newest council member can start in July.
“The new appointee will have a tremendous workload getting up to speed,” Councilman Patrick Slayter said.
Applications are available from the city manager’s office, 7120 Bodega Ave., or by contacting Gourley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 823-1153.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or email@example.com.