Solana Beach Sun

Search is on to fill Solana Beach council vacancy

The Solana Beach City Council is giving residents until 5 p.m. on April 5 to apply for the seat unexpectedly vacated earlier this month by three-term Councilman Mike Nichols.

Applications will be reviewed by the four remaining council members at their April 11 meeting in hopes of having the appointee take their seat at the April 25 meeting. The appointee will hold the seat until Dec. 12—the end of Nichols’ four-year term—and cannot run for council in the November election.

The council voted 4-0 at its March 28 meeting to interview and appoint candidates rather than hold a special election, which a city analysis estimated would cost between $150,000 to $225,000.

“There’s a laundry list of better ways … to spend these funds,” said Councilwoman Jewel Edson.

Deputy Mayor Dave Zito felt strongly that the appointee should not be able to run for the seat in November.

“I believe in people having to earn their way onto the council to the best of their abilities … and actually win in a fair and competitive fashion as opposed to having the unfair advantage of being appointed by an existing council,” he said.

Nichols left the council effective March 12, citing family reasons. In a departing letter to the city, he said he wants his replacement to honor the direction of those who elected him.

His absence has left the council short on tenure. Mayor Ginger Marshall and Councilwomen Jewel Edson and Judy Hegenauer are all in their first four-year term. Zito is serving his second term.

“We haven’t had this inexperienced of a council since 1988, which is basically two years after the city’s formation,” Zito said. “I’m hoping that we can find somebody that has a good amount of experience and can show that and come up to speed and work really closely. A couple of the former council members come to mind.”

The application for the position can be found at bit.ly/2GZQ2JW

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