This article was written by BenitoLink reporter intern Corissa King.
In its June 8 meeting, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to wait until June 22 to decide whether to ask the governor to appoint a new District 1 supervisor to fill the seat vacated by Mark Medina.
“The appointment process will take four to six months,” said Supervisor Bea Gonzales. “This includes an application process and a complete vet of each applicant. The appointment would be until the Nov. 8, 2022 election.”
The supervisors discussed waiting to see whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will be facing a recall election in November.
Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki said, “I personally would like to hold off if we can for about a month to figure out if the state is going to set a date for a recall election.”
Supervisor Peter Hernandez agreed with Kosmicki.
“If there is an opportunity for us to have it go to the public, I think that’s the way it normally works,” Hernandez said.
Supervisor Gonzales said she thought it was more important to fill the vacancy rather than wait for an election.
“I understand what the other supervisors are saying, but we really can’t hold off,” Gonzales said. “The governor’s recall will not be certified or qualified until the lieutenant governor does that and she doesn’t have to do that until August. The window is not ours to take advantage of, it is at the state level. Though I appreciate the urgency of wanting to make this a general election issue, in reality, we can’t.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Gonzales was elected by the supervisors as the new chair of the board, replacing Medina.
Kosmicki asked the staff if San Benito County could have its own special election and County Administrative Officer Ray Espinosa said there is no option for that, the reason being that government code 25061 states that an election for an open position can only happen during a general election.
Asked whether the supervisors would be submitting a list of recommended candidates in the event of an appointment, Kosmicki told BenitoLink, “We have not discussed that at this point. I will not be in support of submitting a list. I want to keep politics out of this as it is the public’s job. I would hope that District 1 residents would have some level of choosing if it came down to an appointment.”
Kosmicki reiterated that “this is not even in the talks yet as the board of supervisors is waiting to hear about the recall election.”
Assemblymember Robert Rivas’s office said, “We are aware of the San Benito County vacancy and encourage interested candidates to apply via the Governor’s appointments portal at: https://www.gov.ca.gov/appointments/,” senior field representative Amy McElroy, said.
State Senator Anna Caballero’s office did not respond to BenitoLink’s request for comment.
According to Government Code 25060, “Whenever a vacancy occurs in a board of supervisors, the Governor shall fill the vacancy. The appointee shall hold office until the election and qualification of his or her successor.” And Government Code 25061 states, “The election of a supervisor to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term shall be held at the next general election unless the term expires on the first Monday after January 1st succeeding the election.”
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