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Councilman moving just after election; seat will need to be filled

Before he leaves, Gordon Siebert intends to raise a few issues with colleagues

Published in the October 26 – November 8, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Gordon Siebert

Gordon Siebert

Morgan Hill City Councilmember Gordon Siebert announced he has sold his home in the Jackson Oaks neighborhood and will move by the end of the year to Nashville to be with his wife, Esther. One of the major decisions the council will need to make soon after the Nov. 8 election is how to go about selecting someone to replace Siebert.

The time frame for Siebert’s leaving the city council is not yet finalized, he said. He is looking at moving in November but possibly coming back to Morgan Hill for a few city council meeting in December and January. After Siebert officially resigns, the remaining councilmembers and mayor will have a period of 60 days to appoint a replacement or call for a special election.

In his remaining meetings, Siebert intends to bring up several issues with his colleagues and staff that he thinks are important for the city’s future and fiscal issues.

“I think Morgan Hill is a wonderful community — but, there are a number of things that still need to be done and I hope to take the few council meetings I have left and raise those issues with my colleagues in terms of funding unfunded liabilities not only in the infrastructure but also pensions and other costs the city might incur,” he said.

One of the things Siebert said he will miss about the city is his conversations with residents.

“I really enjoyed going to Nob Hill or Safeway or Rosy’s at the Beach or Home Depot and running into people,” he said. “And they would have a question about growth control or potholes or something. And I loved the opportunity to explain what was going on.”

Before moving to Morgan Hill, Siebert worked as the city manager for Palos Verdes Estates. He came here in 1989 to work for the city as its public works director. Soon after his arrival, the Bay Area was hit by the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Making his home in Morgan Hill with his wife, Esther, and three children, Siebert has experienced a lot more excitement than only earthquakes as the community has changed over the decades. The city made him interim finance director from 1990 to 1991 and during that time he discovered numerous “irregularities” in the general fund caused by a misunderstanding by previous staff on how the funds work.

“Every week I would walk in and find new problems,” he said. “This reserve account had not been set up properly, this transfer hadn’t been made. The deficit of the general fund was somewhere in the range of five or six million dollars, and it would have gotten worse if we had added the positions the acting city manager recommended.”

Siebert has a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and a masters degree in public policy and management from Carnegie-Mellon University. His expertise served him well after winning a seat on the council in 2009.

In the past six years, he has enjoyed working with his colleagues and city staff to maintain and enhanced the quality of life. But after recently announcing he would be stepping down from the City Council and selling their home, Siebert said he is excited about moving to Nashville where their daughter, son-in-law and grandson live. Esther moved there two years ago.

“I tell people that my wife left me for a younger man,” Siebert said. “He’s 11 and he’s related. His name is Gabriel and he’s an angel — well, not always. I’m looking forward to spending more time with him.”