County Supervisor Advocates For Gail Steele As Placeholder To Replace Lockyer

Gail Steele

April 24, 2012 | After just 472 days in office, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday formally accepted Nadia Lockyer’s resignation and immediately raised the possibility of a familiar face returning to replace her.

“We would like to wish our colleague the best, in terms of her journey in recovery,” said Supervisor Nate Miley. “I don’t think there is no person in this room–in this society or this world–who hasn’t dealt with issues of one type or another.”

We expect public officials to held to a higher standard, but elected officials are human as well and have frailties and weaknesses and challenges and we have unfortunately seen some of that played out with our colleague over the last few months.”

Supervisor Scott Haggerty called accepting the resignation one of the hardest thing he has ever done as supervisor, despite her short time in office. “I know that when Nadia got here, her heart was clearly in the right place,” he said.

Although a few potential replacements to fill Lockyer’s seat are already working the back channels in Hayward and the county, including former Union City councilman Richard Valle, Supervisor Keith Carson raised the possibility of former District 2 supervisor Gail Steele returning on a interim basis until the November election. The Board of Supervisors has 60 days to appoint a successor, but an election will be held in November with the winner serving the remainder of Lockyer’s first term until 2014.

Carson said he called Steele last Sunday to gauge her interest in returning to the seat she held from 1992 to 2010. “She said she was willing to do so,” said Carson. “As a result of good government, she could step into that position for that short window of about eight months to serve in that capacity.”

Steele’s relatively short time away from the board and possibility of avoiding an extended period of “political drama” as candidates jockey for position presents “a less intrusive way to bridge the operations of the county,” said Carson.

During her nearly two decades representing District 2, Steele was both popular with residents and consistently labelled as one of the best public officials to work for by former staffers. Upon retiring from the board, she surprised many in 2010 when she broke her traditional silence when it came to political endorsements by backing Liz Figueroa to replace her and passing over Lockyer. At the time, she questioned Lockyer’s experience and limited knowledge of the district’s residents.

The board also announced Carson will have oversight over Lockyer’s former staff until a replacement is appointed. Carson said he would not introduce legislation on the district’s behalf, only maintain stability for residents to answer questions and continue case work.

The next two months are destined to be a highly chaotic for the board. In addition to finding Lockyer’s replacement before June 20, they will also begin grappling with closing a substantial $88 million funding gap before July 1.