Anaheim City Council Members are set to appoint a replacement for Jordan Brandman’s seat on the dais at their meeting on Tuesday.
Brandman resigned in August after facing scrutiny and recoil over leaked vulgar texts he sent to people about former Councilwoman Denise Barnes.
The vacant council seat is up for general election next November.
Mayor Harry Sidhu spoke in favor of an appointment process to fill the vacancy at the city council meeting on Aug. 24.
“I believe that through the appointment process, this council can find a qualified community leader from district two who will serve the residents of West Anaheim,” he said. “This will bring our council back to full strength and give the residents of District 2 their voice in the city hall months sooner than a special election.”
This year alone, the debate on how council vacancies should be addressed has popped off in several cities including Costa Mesa, Cypress, and, perhaps most notably, in Huntington Beach following the resignation of Tito Ortiz in June.
Another vacancy debate will also take place in Laguna Hills, where city council members will discuss how to fill a vacancy at their Tuesday meeting.
The vacancy in Laguna Hills comes following the resignation of Councilman Bill Hunt that will become effective on Sept. 14.
“Over the last few months numerous factors in my personal life have led my wife Debbie and I to decide it is time for us to move from California and on to the next chapter in our lives,” reads Hunt’s resignation letter.
City council members will have until November 13 to decide whether they will hold a special election or go through the appointment process to select Hunt’s replacement.
According to a staff report on Tuesday’s agenda, a special election in Laguna Hills could cost between $141,252 and $163,398.
The decision out of these vacancy debates of whether empty seats on the city council should be filled through an appointment process or a special election has traditionally left many Orange County residents upset.
In Huntington Beach, the uproar over the appointment of Rhonda Bolton — the first Black woman to serve on the city council — has led officials to look into revising their charter including the part on council vacancies.
In Anaheim — like in other cities — vacancies are filled by the city council, according to the city charter.
But, like in most cities, if Anaheim council members don’t fill the seat in 60 days, the decision goes to the Anaheim voters in a special election that the Orange County Registrar of Voters estimate would cost around $191,864 to $221,423, according to a staff report.
If the council doesn’t appoint a replacement for Brandman at their meeting, they will have until Oct. 4 to decide who will be the new councilmember or a special election will be triggered.
Councilmembers decided to take applications for a new councilmember to fill the vacancy at their Aug. 24
10 people have thrown their name in the ring for the open spot on the dais, with several applicants listing city infrastructure, public safety and homelessness among the top issues in district 2 and the city.
Applicants were invited and will have an opportunity to speak at Tuesday’s meeting as to why they should be appointed.
If the council picks one of the applicants, the new council member would be sworn in and take their seat at the Sept. 28 council meeting, according to a news release from the city.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.