OCEANSIDE — Minutes before filling the vacant mayor’s seat on Jan. 24, City Council pushed forward a provision to allow the deputy mayor to make city commission, committee and board member appointments in the event the mayor takes an extended leave of absence.
Annual appointments of residents to serve on city commissions, committees and boards are usually made by the mayor in December. Recent changes have been on hold since former Mayor Jim Wood took a medical leave in May 2017 and later resigned in January 2018.
Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery said that Wood provided the council a list of recommendations for appointments in November 2017, which the council updated and is ready to approve. The list includes reinstating some current commission, committee and board members, and adding some new volunteers to fill positions.
“Some positions are being changed out because of the need for new membership, or the person (volunteering) is tired of doing it,” Lowery said.
Delayed appointments were scheduled to be recommended by Lowery and voted on by council at the Feb. 7 meeting.
Lowery said filling commission, committee and board member seats may be slightly delayed after the appointment of Peter Weiss as mayor. It is expected Weiss will make recommendations for open positions at an upcoming meeting.
“We have a mayor now,” Lowery said. “This changed city regulation will not make a difference (the new mayor will recommend the appointments).”
Lowery said Weiss was sworn in as mayor Jan. 25 and approved the list of council recommendations that same day.
He added the city is taking strides forward with a five-person council intact.
One example Lowery shared was that the four-person council was vulnerable to tie votes, which led to delays in city projects that need council approval for state and federal permits. The demand to secure a 3-1 council vote and uncertainty of getting it caused city staff to postpone bringing some projects forward. Lowery said a tie 2-2 vote would have the same effect as a no vote, and might not be in the best interest of the city.
“They could not count on us to move proposed items forward,” Lowery said. “Now we’re ready to go, there will be a clear yes or no vote.”
Lowery said he is glad Jan. 24 council discussion led to the appointment of Weiss. He said the former city manager is a good fit because he has worked with most of the current council members and does not bring a personal agenda to the job.
“He was willing to take the appointment, finish the term, and would not run for the job as a candidate,” Lowery said.
Lowery added Weiss is objective, informed and communicates well with city staff and the public.
Weiss will be paid considerably less as mayor than he was as city manager. Lowery said another positive note is Weiss is not taking the position for the pay.
The city will move forward with the new mayor making recommendations for commission, committee and board member appointments. The safeguard for the deputy mayor to make appointments will also be in place if needed.
The city policy to make appointments has been revised several times. It was last updated in 2008.