San Clemente residents will vote in a special election Nov. 5 to fill the vacant city council seat left by Mayor Steve Swartz, who died May 8.
The resolution for a special election passed 4-0 at San Clemente’s City Council meeting Tuesday, May 21. In the meantime, the dais will consist of four members until an application process is discussed for appointing someone to fill Swartz’s seat until the election.
Swartz died while on vacation in Palm Springs. He had 18 months left in his term.
A motion to appoint Gene James until the Nov. 5 election made by Council Member Laura Ferguson failed 2-2, with Mayor Pro Tem Dan Bane in favor and Council Members Chris Hamm and Kathy Ward opposed.
“At this point in time, I think the city is grieving. I’m not interested in appointing a committee or looking at appointing someone in the future,” Hamm said. “That’s not to say that in the future I won’t be interested in it, but at this point, I am not.”
James ran for one of the three vulnerable council seats in last November’s election, but came in fourth. There were several supporters for James in the crowd holding campaign signs.
Ward said that she was also not ready to make an appointment.
“I think we can do this with four [council members]. I think we can,” Ward said. “‘Cause I think we can compromise, because we have to, because the people elected us to do this and we have to work together as a unit.”
Council members unanimously agreed to table the discussion.