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Council Discusses Process to Appoint New District 3 Councilmember

Published on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 | 5:10 am

The City Council on Monday acknowledged the vacancy created by the passing of Councilmember John Kennedy and direct the City Clerk to file a notice of intention to fill that vacancy by appointment.

As agreed upon, the notice will be published on August 18. Applicants can submit applications from August 18 to September 8.

Kennedy, who died on July 21, is the first City Councilmember in modern times to die while in office. A public celebration of Kennedy’s life is scheduled for Sept. 30 in front of City Hall.

Kennedy’s sister Lena Kennedy addressed the Pasadena City Council earlier this month.

“I greet you with a heavy heart,” Lena Kennedy said.

“Somedays it feels broken.”

In order to apply to occupy the empty Council seat, applicants must be of voting age and a resident of District 3 at that time of the application. They are required to gather at least 25 valid signatures of District 3 registered voters supporting their respective appointments.

The City Council is expected to hold interviews and make a decision in mid to late September, according to city documents.

Five affirmative votes are required to appoint an individual to the City Council. If the City Council is unable to appoint a candidate by October 4, which is the deadline, the District 3 Councilmember would be chosen by lot from the applicants.

The applicant who is chosen will serve the remainder of the current term until December 12.

Kennedy’s death actually created two vacancies according to the staff report.

The first vacancy covers Kennedy’s current term of office, which ends on December 12. The second vacancy begins December 12, the beginning of the term was elected when he won the June 7th Primary Election.

“That vacancy does not exist until December 12, and it is to be filled no earlier than that date, and no later than 75 days thereafter, by the newly constituted City Council sworn into office at the December 12th Organizational Meeting,” according to the staff report.

The term for the second vacancy will last until December 9, 2024. Following the 2024 March Primary and November General election cycle, a voter-elected District 3 Councilmember will begin a two-year term for the remainder of the unexpired term ending on December 7, 2026.

The person who is appointed by the City Council to fill the remainder of Councilmember Kennedy’s current term may be the same person who is appointed by the Council to fill the second vacancy.

However, there must be two separate City Council votes, and the second appointment must be made by the newly sworn and constituted City Council that takes office as of the December 12, 2022 Organizational Meeting.

The City Council agreed to decide the process as relates to the second vacancy after getting court direction.

They made the decision after Councilmember Steve Madison urged the City Council to consider holding a District 3 councilmember election in the November 8 general election in order to allow residents to choose who they want to represent them at the City Council for the two-year period.

New member Jason Lyon will be sworn in during the December 12, 2022 Organizational Meeting along with Jess Rivas.

“The Council District 3 vacancy must be filled by appointment by the remaining members of the City Council within 75 days of the vacancy occurring, requiring the City Council to take action no later than Tuesday, October 4, 2022,” according to a city staff report. “The City Charter does not provide any further direction or impose requirements on the process other than to select a qualified resident voter from District 3 to serve as the appointee to fill the vacancy.”

First elected in 2013, Councilmember Kennedy proudly and tirelessly served Pasadena’s District 3. During his tenure on City Council, he chaired the Public Safety Committee, served on the Finance Committee, and was one of three City representatives to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. He served on a variety of local boards — including the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, the Pasadena Police Foundation, and the Toni Bradley Legacy Foundation at UCLA. He served on the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture’s Commission on Equity. Diversity & Inclusion. He was an ardent supporter of affordable housing, livable wages, and local hiring.

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