Council says no vote in Dist. 1

Majority decides to appoint a successor to friend

​Ray Friend retired from his District 1 position.

Would you like to be a City Council member, but avoid the time and expense of an election?

The Hollister City Council has rejected an option of scheduling a special council election next spring, and instead is accepting applications for an appointment to the District 1 council seat left vacant by the resignation of Ray Friend.

The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 14.

The council has tentatively scheduled interviews for prospective council candidates on Oct.1, when it also intends to make the appointment. By law, the city has to make its decision on an appointment before Oct. 7, 60 days after Friend’s resignation became effective.

That’s one month before the mayoral position and the three other council member seats are up for grabs.

Friend’s resignation came too late for his open seat to be included on the Nov. 6 ballot, according to the city.

On Aug. 20, the council voted 3-1, with Mayor Ignacio Velazquez opposed, to appoint Friend’s successor, and not allow District 1 voters to pick his replacement.

The council could have decided to keep the seat open, and hold a special election for the remainder of Friend’s term, which expires in 2020, but instead chose to fill it by appointment, said City Clerk Christine Black. Black said March 5 was the earliest possible date for a special election to fill the seat.

Unless the council changes it mind before Oct. 7, the election for the District 1 seat will be in November 2020. District 1 includes downtown Hollister and the industrial area that extends north to the airport.

Black said Friend emailed his notice of resignation on July 11, in which he said that Aug. 7, 2018, would be his last day with the City of Hollister. The deadline to place the seat on the ballot was July 15, but the council seat wasn’t officially vacated until Aug.7.

Friend said he was told by Black that the first meeting where he could announce his resignation would be Aug. 7, because the Hollister City Council was out of session for the month of July.

Council member Jim Gillio was appointed to the council but will not be seeking re-election in order to run for the District 4 San Benito County Board of Supervisors.

He wrote on his Facebook page, “Tonight the City Council voted 3-1 to appoint a replacement for Council member Friend. I voted for this because a special election would cost between $75k and $150k and would take place in March, according to the city clerk. The process will be the same process used to appoint me about 15 months ago.”

Friend said he anticipated stepping down for several months in order to relocate to Washington state to be with family. He originally thought he may downsize to a home in Hollister still within his district, but later decided to move to Washington.

Friend said his decision to hold off on the announcement was because he wanted to secure a property in Washington. “There was nothing to do with the dates except I didn’t want to make it official until I actually had a piece of property I could move to,” said Friend.

In a legal ad published in this week’s Free Lance, Black wrote, “Applications will be accepted from interested candidates residing in the City of Hollister for City Council District 1. The deadline to turn in applications is Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, at 4pm. Applications must include a cover letter and a resume, and may be submitted via email to [email protected] or in person at the City Clerk’s Office, located at 375 Fifth St., Hollister. Interested parties may also contact City Clerk Christine Black at 831-636-4300, x17 with questions.

“Tentatively, interviews will be conducted on Oct. 1, 2018, from 4 to 6pm. The successful candidate will be announced on or after the hour of 6:30pm. on Oct. 1, 2018. Please note that the interview schedule and announcement of the successful candidate are subject to change.”

The boundaries of District 1 can be found at http://hollister.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Hollister_4districts_shaded_011012.pdf.

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