A math professor, a former mayor and a once-recalled council member are among five applicants for a vacant Cotati Council seat. The two others are a self-employed business consultant and a former planning commission chairwoman. See who’s being considered to fill the seat vacated by the death of Councilman Robert Coleman-Senghor.
Robert Coleman-Senghor, the Cotati councilman and former mayor who died April 9, continues to be a flashpoint in the city’s contentious, often sharply personal political scene. An ideological foe of the former mayor has accused Councilman Mark Landman of violating the city’s ethics code by posting a comment on WSC disparaging people who criticized Coleman-Senghor.
The Cotati City Council decided Wednesday to invite applications from residents to fill the seat made vacant by the April 9 death of Robert Coleman-Senghor. It rejected a request by former councilman George Barich to hold a special election.
A bouquet of white flowers sat behind Cotati Councilman Robert Coleman-Senghor’s nameplate on Wednesday night at City Hall, as colleagues, friends and even adversaries paid tribute to his keen intellect, eloquence and gentlemanly manner.
Cotati officials plan to honor Robert Coleman-Senghor, the city councilman and former mayor, before determining plans to appoint a successor. The council has 60 days to decide whether to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Coleman-Senghor’s term — which ends in November 2012 — or to hold a special election.
Robert Coleman-Senghor, Cotati city councilman and longtime professor of English at Sonoma State University died unexpectedly Saturday after suffering a tear in his aorta. He was teaching a Thursday class when he began having chest pains and trouble breathing, said his wife of 17 years, Gabi Schmitz.
Cotati’s City Council on Monday committed millions in redevelopment funds to specific projects, trying to ensure the state can’t get the money if the legislature goes along with Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate local redevelopment agencies. “If our responsibility is to protect the public good, the public investment, then it’s our job to protect that,” Councilman Mark Landman said.
Cotati leaders took another step Wednesday toward cutting the city’s pension costs, approving a new contract with City Hall and public works employees that will reduce its contribution to retirement and medical benefit programs.
Janet Orchard, Cotati’s vice mayor for the past year, was named mayor Wednesday by a unanimous City Council vote. But the last few minutes of outgoing Mayor Robert Coleman-Senghor’s term were touched with the same bitter atmospherics that characterized much of his 14 months as the council’s head.
When former Healdsburg Police Chief Susan Jones was hired in July to run Cotati’s police department on a 6-month interim basis, city officials said she would play a key role in the search for a permanent police chief for the city of 7,500. But Jones departed feeling that the city’s top administrator froze her out of major parts of the recruitment and hiring process and at one point misled her in a way that she said briefly tarnished her credibility among her professional peers.