OCEANSIDE — Oceanside verified election results and swore in its re-elected city officials on Wednesday. Election winners included deceased city treasurer Gary Ernst, who passed away in September, and won with close to 52 percent of the votes.
Following acceptance speeches from re-elected city officials, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint a treasurer to the vacant seat, rather than hold a costly special election.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez made a motion to appoint candidate Nadine Scott, who ran as Ernst’s sole challenger, but her motion did not receive a second.
Sanchez praised Scott for her deep love for the city and sense of responsibility to make it its best.
“I have no doubt in my mind Ms. Scott is qualified for this position, she is a smart person, and has been a treasurer, I believe in her,” Sanchez said.
Scott spoke during the meeting’s public comments and criticized Councilman Jerry Kern for campaigning for the deceased treasurer and misleading voters.
“I am a very qualified candidate, and am frustrated by a handful of elected officials who want to try to pick the next treasurer,” Scott said.
Scott also questioned if Ernst was even a resident of Oceanside, and said police reports state Ernst was found dead inside his Carlsbad home.
Following the meeting Scott said she would continue to look into Ernst’s city of residence, and take steps to challenge his win if his legal address was outside of Oceanside.
Scott can apply for the position of treasurer, but said she is uncertain if she will do so since the appointment depends on the City Council votes.
Scott is an attorney and an outspoken community activist. She was part of a failed effort to recall Kern in 2009.
After Ernst passed, Kern and other council members said they did not think Scott was qualified to serve as city treasurer, and did not want the position to become a platform for someone with a political agenda.
On Wednesday Kern said it is time to honor election results and move forward with a city treasurer appointment.
Applicants have until the end of the first week in January to apply for the position through the city clerk’s office.
The City Council will hold public interviews of candidates Jan. 11, and make an appointment by Jan. 18. The appointed treasurer will serve until November 2018.