This Tuesday, July 19, the city council is scheduled to discuss how it plans to fill the vacant city council seat left by the late Fred Twyman. Thus far, the city hasn't proposed any ideas on what the process should be, though residents have inundated City Hall with their own opinions.
Menifee city councilmember, Darcy Kuenzi, has an idea however.
"I think there should be an application process, and then a public forum where city councilmembers together can interview applicants in front of a public audience" she explained in an interview with Menifee 24/7. "Let's allow residents to submit applications, and let's have an open, public process to sift through applicants and name someone."
The city council has 60 days from the date of Fred Twyman's passing to name a successor, according to California Code, placing the deadline by August 15. The State, however, does not specify how cities should do so. The council plans to officially discuss the process this Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a handful of vocal Sun City residents have fired off numerous e-mails to the City Manager in recent days. We obtained copies of those e-mails. At least two residents demanded that Fred Twyman's seat be filled by someone who shares Twyman's views. The Californian, reported on July 8 that councilman Tom Fuhrman supports Marc Miller to replace Twyman. Marc Miller was appointed to the Planning Commission by Twyman.
In addition, comments posted on The Californian website indicate that some residents want Marc Miller rushed into Twyman's seat without having any kind of public process. . .
"The nomination should be the person that represents Councilman Twyman's vision for the city, and that would be his selection for the Planning Commission. In honor of Fred's memory, that would be the logical, and most honorable choice."
"I don't see why a successor has to be discussed through e-mail", Darcy Kuenzi responded regarding Marc Miller's name. "Let's have an application process where anyone can apply. Let's have an open interview with the entire council, and let's have the public attend. That's the fair way to do it."
Menifee is not the first city tasked with having to replace a city councilman. Norco, Rancho Mirage, Davis, Concord, Pleasanton are examples of those that have gone through the process. "Those cities all held some kind of open, public process of finding a replacement", Kuenzi added.
Another option on the table is having a public vote, but the soonest an election could be scheduled would be April 2012 in order to afford candidates enough time to file papers, raise money and campaign. "That option is very costly", Kuenzi went on to say. "We don't want to spend another $100,000.00 on an election."
In addition, Twyman's seat expires in 2012, meaning whoever wins that election will only have half a year to serve.
"My colleagues on the council should be considerate to having an open process so that's it fair and transparent," Kuenzi added. "We should follow good governance principles. I have faith that my colleagues will do the right thing and support an open process."
Residents are invited to attend the City Council meeting on July 19, at 7:00pm, at City Hall, 29714 New Hub Drive, in Menifee, and provide their input.