The Elk Grove City Council will have a vacancy for at least two more weeks.
The four people on the council sought to appoint a fifth member Wednesday night, but numerous votes resulted in ties and the group punted the item to its next meeting, scheduled for Jan. 23.
"So we're going to pull the Band-Aid off this slowly and go through this whole thing again in two weeks?" Council Member Pat Hume asked.
The candidates who applied to represent District 4, a seat vacated when Gary Davis was elected mayor in November, were:
- Edward Busuttil, a San Joaquin County Assistant District Attorney. He said safety should be the No. 1 priority of the council, adding government should be "effective and efficient."
- Nancy D. Chaires, an Elk Grove Planning Commissioner who said she works hard to protect the best interests of local residents and wants to ensure they have the best representation possible.
- David Conner, the CEO of RECON Networking, Inc. He said the city should be business-friendly and create job opportunities for residents to work close to home.
- LaWanna Montgomery, a recent mayoral candidate who has run for council two other times. She said her strength lies in working with people.
- Oscar O'con, a business consultant who is involved in several Elk Grove organizations. He named supporting small businesses as one of his highest priorities, and was backed by the chair of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.
- Jeffrey Owen, a youth soccer coach and Vice President of Operations at School Innovations & Advocacy. Owen said his top two priorities would be the civic center and Southeast Policy Area.
During Wednesday's meeting, the council voted to appoint Chaires, O'con, Conner and Owens, coming up with a 2-2 tie each time. Each time, the votes split the same way: Davis and Council Member Jim Cooper only voted in favor of Chaires, while Hume and Vice Mayor Steve Detrick voted in favor of each of the three others.
The council members also debated a ranked-choice method of appointment that would have each of them gives points to a first, second and third-choice, and then appoint the candidate who receives the most points. The council tied when voting on whether or not to try that method.
If no decision is reached within 60 days of Davis assuming his position as mayor, the city will be forced to call a special election.
Cooper said his fellow council members should "make a decision and stick by it," so waiting two weeks shouldn't have any effect on the outcome. He said Wednesday's repeated deadlock showed the council should call for a special election.
"I don't want to bring it back," he said.
Community member Michael Monasky, who voiced concerns when the council voted to decide whether it would appoint a new council member or hold a special election, criticized the process.
"I thought this was a democracy," Monasky said. "When a few people decide who should rule, that's an oligarchy."