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Vacancy Initiative, With Key Changes, Sent to November Ballot

Published on Tuesday, July 9, 2024 | 5:52 am

The City Council voted 6-2 not to adopt a Charter Reform Task Force recommendation that would require applicants for vacant City Council seats to live six months in the District where the seat is vacant before being appointed.

Instead, the City Council opted to set a six-month citywide requirement.

Councilmember Jess Rivas and Vice Mayor Steve Madison opposed the substitute motion.

Councilmembers Tyron Hampton, Felicia Williams, Justin Jones, Gene Masuda and Jason Lyon voted in support.

The item became contentious when Madison accused Jones, who was appointed after John Kennedy, of being appointed without living in the District for six months.

Jones denied the accusation.

“Jones is not on trial here tonight,” Hampton said.

But Mayor Gordo reminded Councilmembers that the current appointment process has worked without a residency requirement.

“The process has worked in the past,” said Gordo, who pointed out past appointments including Rivas, Jones, Andy Wilson and Joel Bryant had done just fine.

Voters voiced their approval later by electing the appointees to full council terms.

Although the process was used several times, complaints arose when Jones was appointed.

Williams opposed the matter because she said it was aimed at Jones.

“We should not set policy that way,” Williams said.

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