Encinitas City Council members opted to fill a vacancy on the five-member panel by appointment, rather than have the city spend more than $400,000 on a special election.
The council voted 4-0 Wednesday, Dec. 12, to authorize City Clerk Kathy Hollywood to solicit applications for candidates interested in filling the vacancy.
The void was created by the election of former Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath to the state Assembly.
Horvath won the Nov. 6 election to serve as California’s 76th Assembly District representative after occupying a council seat for just half of the four-year term to which she was elected in 2016.
To comply with state law, the council must fill the vacancy by Feb. 1, or put the seat up for election.
The last council election was the first one held in 33 years of cityhood in which councillors were elected by districts, instead of at-large. In previous elections, everyone within the city could vote for any candidate regardless of where the voter or candidate lived.
Since Horvath was elected when the at-large system was still in effect, the council can appoint her successor from anywhere within the city.
While council members could have restricted applications to residents within District 2 where Horvath resides, they agreed to keep the process open to all residents regardless of the district in which they live.
Whomever the council selects to fill the post will occupy it for the remaining two years of the vacated seat’s term. In 2020, voters in District 2 will cast ballots on candidates who live within that sector.
District 2 includes the communities of Old Encinitas and southern Leucadia straddling Highway 101.