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City Council selects four to return for second interview to fill seat

Procedural error means one candidate was not notified of interviews, will do so Jan.18

Published in the January 18 – January 31, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

LIST OF CITY COUNCIL APPLICANTS TO REPLACE GORDON SIEBERT

By Robert Airoldi

Marilyn Librers answers questions from the Morgan Hill City Council during the interview process.
Photo by Robert Airoldi

After nearly four and a half hours and 24 interviews to fill a vacant seat, a city clerk’s procedural error put a snag in the Morgan Hill City Council’s plan to make an appointment Wednesday Jan. 11 night to find a replacement for former member Gordon Siebert’s vacant seat on the dais.

The council did, however, conduct a straw poll and invited back applicants Caitlin Robinett Jachimowicz, Danielle Davenport, John McKay and Carol Fredrickson.

“One application did not make it into the packet,” Mayor Steve Tate said at the conclusion of the interviews with all applicants in the council chambers. Because of the error, the woman was not notified of the date and time of the interviews. In an effort to be fair, the council will interview that applicant and invite back the four selected finalists for second interviews at 7 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 18.

After the interviews and learning one person had been inadvertently omitted, the council decided to conduct a straw poll to determine if councilmembers had similar selections. They all wrote down three names to invite back for a second round. Thirty people applied, but six did not show up for the interviews.

Jachimowicz, an attorney based in San Jose, received three votes (from everyone except Councilmember Rich Constantine); Davenport, a board member and advisor for StratusVR, received two votes (councilmembers Larry Carr and Rene Spring); McKay, Morgan Hill Planning Commissioner and Chairman of the Downtown Association received two votes (Mayor Steve Tate and Constantine); and Fredrickson, a Santa Clara Valley Water District retiree, received two votes (Tate and Spring). Those receiving one vote were Yvonne Martinez, an urban planner (Constantine); Marilyn Librers, executive director of the Pauchon Research Foundation, and a former council member who served eight years and came in third in the November election (Carr); and Mario Banuelos, a retired analyst with the City of San Jose, and a candidate for council in the Nov. 8 (Constantine).

The council debated several dates for the second round of interviews, mainly because Councilmember Spring will not be available Jan. 18 and the council has a packed agenda that night. The council eventually decided to not postpone the final interviews to Jan. 25 or later because the council will hold its annual planning retreat Jan. 28 and would like the new councilmember to participate.

In December, former Councilmember Siebert moved his residence to Nashville, Tennessee with two years remaining on his term in office. The council voted in late December to appoint someone rather than hold an expensive special election.