The Hollister City Council appointed Planning Commission Chair Carol Lenoir to the open District 1 seat during a special Oct. 1 meeting.
“My feeling was one of much excitement,” Lenoir said to BenitoLink about her appointment. “It’s a long time that I’ve wanted to be on the council.”
Lenoir will be sworn in before the council meeting on Oct. 15.
“I really would like to work with [councilmembers] for the betterment of the community,” Lenoir said. I’ve always wanted to do it. I don’t have any reasons other than I love the city of Hollister.”
Three applicants, Elizabeth Doidge, Dawn Koistinen and Lenoir, went through a seven-question interview by the four-member council. The District 1 seat was left open in August, a month after former Councilman Ray Friend announced his resignation.
Kevin Henderson and Dave Harro also submitted an applications before the Sept. 14. deadline, but withdrew prior to the public interview process.
The council voted 3-1 in favor of Lenoir, with Mayor Ignacio Velazquez opposed. Velazquez supported Koistinen.
Councilmembers Mickie Luna and Karson Klauer told BenitoLink that Lenoir’s experience was one of the main factors they supported her appointment.
Luna said Lenoir is well-informed about the city’s business.
“It’s a crucial time for people to know about the city and what’s going on,” Luna said. “Being that she was on the [Hollister] Planning Commission, she is aware of that.”
Luna also said Lenoir is “open to communication and direct about her feelings about the city.”
According to Klauer, Lenoir’s background will allow her to hit the ground running. He added that as member of the Planning Commission, Lenoir has seen the applications and projects the council will consider in the future.
Velazquez said the appointment process to choose the replacement of former Councilman Friend, who stepped down on Aug. 7, should have been through an election.
“I heard a lot of people asking why they weren’t being allowed to vote,” Velazquez said. “When it’s a short term it makes no sense. When the term is longer than a year, we owe it to the public to let them vote instead of the council.”
It was a matter of timing, Luna said, and added that the election process would have taken months to fill the vacant seat.
There are instances in which councilmembers have to recuse themselves for conflicts of interests, Luna said, which increased the importance to appoint someone for District 1 to “move the city forward.”
“I’m for the people speaking out and electing their own,” Luna said. “In this case we would’ve had to wait maybe eight months.”
According to the Aug. 20 council meeting minutes, the earliest special election would have been held in March 2019 and it would have cost between $75,000 and $150,000.
Aside from the cost and the time, Klauer said Friend was on a lot of committees, which would have required a lot of work for the council to substitute for him.
Business would have been tougher for the council through April with just four councilmembers, Klauer said.
Councilman Jim Gillio did not respond to the request for comment.
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