ENCINITAS — The City Council voted unanimously to let the public decide how it wants to select a mayor at the July 11 meeting.
The council was previously split on whether to tweak it’s mayoral selection during a Feb. 15 meeting and directed staff to research additional options for putting the question to voters, a move longtime Councilman Jim Bond supported.
In February, the council majority chose a system in which the person receiving the highest number of votes would be appointed mayor for a two-year term. The mayor would in turn select the deputy mayor.
The current practice of rotating each year, with the mayor and deputy mayor selected by a majority vote of the council has become contentious. When Councilwoman Teresa Barth was not selected as mayor last December, a large crowd in the audience stood and turned their backs to the dais in silent protest.
The city could join 15 other municipalities that have elected mayors in San Diego County.
According to the city clerk, the cost to place a single question on the November 2012 ballot is between $17,000 and $20,000.
“I don’t like the annual rotation, I really don’t,” Mayor Jerome Stocks said in February. “Frankly it should be the voters that select us.”
The ballot measure will ask three questions as dictated by state law, according to assistant City Manager Richard Phillips. First, does the voter want an elected mayor? The next two questions ask whether the term of an elected mayor should be two years or four years.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth asked if the measure would address whether a mayor is paid more, or has more authority and other similar issues. The council decided not to include anything other than the three basic questions and work out any details at a later date, depending on the outcome of the vote.
Kathleen Lees, a Leucadia resident did not fully support an elected mayor position. “This is an issue because you as a group can’t work together,” she told the council. “Electing a mayor won’t change that.”