Who will be appointed to Barbara 
Halliday’s council seat now that she
is mayor-elect?

HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | When the new Hayward City Council is sworn-in along with Mayor-elect Barbara Halliday next month, it will have an opportunity not afforded it since 2006—the responsibility of appointing a new member to its ranks.

Eight years ago, however, the moment was a sad occasion following the passing of long-time Councilmember Matt Jimenez just days after his re-election. This time it follows Halliday’s election to mayor earlier this month. Two years remain on Halliday’s current council term.

The decision over how to move forward with filling the seat will not occur until the new council convenes on July 8, said City Manager Fran David. She laid out two scenarios last week, including an appointment process similar to one used in 2006 to fill Jimenez’s seat, or a special election in November. While merely appointing a new member will cost the city nothing, the price of a special election could be well over $200,000.

Councilmember Francisco Zermeno was one of the candidates who applied to fill Jimenez’s seat eight years ago and said last week he would support its use this time around. “It was transparent. It was done quick and it was done well,” he said. Zermeno did not win the appointment in 2006, but was elected to the council two years later. In fact, two additional members of the current council, Marvin Peixoto and Al Mendall, were also interviewed for the seat. The nod, instead, went to Doris Rodriguez, who had formerly served on the council and who served in a caretaker role for the next two years.

Under a short schedule recommended by city staff, the City Council will discuss the specific guideline for appointment on July 8 after the new council is seated. Presumably, the window for receiving applications would begin then and end by the July 15 meeting. A special meeting two days later on July 17 could be schedule to determine which applicants will be offered public interviews. On July 22, the candidates would be interviewed and potential selected and sworn-in that night, said David.

If a new member is not selected, a special election may or may not be permissible under the proposed schedule since election laws mandate public notice to occur 133 days before the next election, which is July 14. Compressing the selection process is also not an option since the Alameda County Registrar told the city the June 3 election will not be officially certified until July 8.

City Attorney Michael Lawson said the council could technically notice the intent to hold a November election before the July 14 deadline while continuing with the appointment process. If a replacement is chosen, the city could then rescind the notice.

While there may be uncertainty over how Halliday’s seat will be filled, there is a far greater sense over who might be interested. During last week’s meeting, Mendall acknowledged “we already know who might apply.”

They include Councilmember Mark Salinas, who did not run for his seat last month, but instead ran for mayor and lost. His term ends next month. Other unsuccessful candidates from the June 3 council election may also have interest, including Rocky Fernandez, who finished third; Julie McKillop, who placed fourth and Planning Commissioner Rodney Loche, who was fifth in the seven-person at-large race. Another planning commissioner, Elisa Marquez, could also be a candidate for the post.

In addition to Salinas, Loche’s potential application could be favorable to the new council, according to some City Hall sources. Specifically, Loche’s vote earlier this year on the planning commission opposing a specific proposal to develop the old Mervyn’s property on Foothill Boulevard. The contentious issue could possibly return to the council in the next year. Loche’s stance also dovetails with the opinion of at least half of the voting members of the council.