Make Appointment to Vacant Town Council Seat Instead of Holding Special Election - YES
With Vice Mayor David Kunhardt's unfortunate decision to resign from the Council and move to Maine (we are very happy for him, but will miss him!), we were presented with an option: should we fill the remaining 1.5 years left on his term by holding a special election, or by accepting applications from the public and making an appointment?
In my view, Corte Madera tradition and common sense dictated that we make an appointment. While elections are a crucial public ritual that establish the legitimacy of our democratic government, they are also expensive. I weighed the cost to taxpayers (up to $72,000) against the fact that, once an election was held and the winner sworn in, they'd likely have less than a year left in their term. My conclusion was that an election didn't make sense.
Corte Madera history supports this decision, with past Councils voting to make an appointment rather than hold an election to fill a vacant seat in similar situations going back to 1935.