Elk Grove seeks candidates for council vacancy

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

As Elk Grove prepares to swear in Gary Davis as its first directly elected mayor, the City Council is gearing up to appoint a replacement for Davis' vacated District 4 seat.

The city is accepting applications from residents for the position on the five-member council. Completed applications are due to the city clerk by Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 5 p.m.

After Davis is sworn in at the council meeting Wednesday, his seat will be up for grabs for the rest of his term, which ends Dec. 10, 2014.

The League of Women Voters will host a forum with the candidates on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m. at the council chambers, 8400 Laguna Palms Way. The candidates will have an opportunity to make a presentation to the City Council at its meeting on Jan. 9.

The council may make an appointment at the Jan. 9 meeting, or could put it off to the Jan. 23 meeting.

Davis represents a district in the southwestern part of the city, west of Highway 99 to Franklin Boulevard and south of Elk Grove Boulevard to Kammerer Road. Council members must reside in their respective districts in the city. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and registered to vote.

Since the city's incorporation in 2000, Elk Grove City Council members have selected one of their colleagues as mayor on a rotating basis, typically for a one-year term.

Elk Grove voters approved a new election format in 2010. The package of election changes included voting for a mayor in a citywide at-large election for a two-year term, and reducing the number of council districts from five to four. Council member terms will remain four years.

In July, the council remapped the districts, dissolving District 5, and merging it with Districts 2 and 4.

District 5's current council representative, Sophia Scherman, made an unsuccessful bid for the state Assembly, then lost in the November Elk Grove mayoral election against Davis.

The disappearance of her district and the loss in the mayor's race effectively bumped Scherman, marking the first time since incorporation the city will not have her serving on its council.

Looking back at her dozen years as the only woman on the council, Scherman said Wednesday it's been "an honor and a privilege to be at the very beginning of forming a new city."

She didn't rule out running for Elk Grove mayor again in two years, or making another run for Assembly. For now, however, Scherman will push for development of a veterans center in the city.

During her tenure on the council, she described herself as being more focused on raising the quality of life for residents rather than rapid growth or ambitious expenditures.

"I hope the council stays on that path somewhat," Scherman said. "I'm worried they will spend too much money on ballfields or things like that."

So far, the only candidate filing papers for the vacant council position is LaWanna Montgomery, who also lost in the November mayoral race.

She was accused of defacing Scherman's election signs, but the district attorney opted not to pursue charges because of the minimal damage and Montgomery's lack of a prior criminal history. Montgomery denied any involvement in vandalizing Scherman's signs.

The directly elected mayor's post is largely a ceremonial title, with few special powers. The mayor will have the ability to appoint citizens to boards and commissions, with council approval.

To apply for the council seat, go to the city's website at: www.elkgrovecity.org/council/ member-vacancies.asp

For more information, or to see the council district map: www.elkgrovecity.org/council

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Read more articles by Anne Gonzales

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