Rialto City Council Unable To Agree On Vacancy Appointment

RIALTO—The Rialto City Council was not able to reach a consensus on an appointment to fill in the void created when Deborah Robertson was elected mayor in November with two years remaining on the council term she was elected to in 2010.
Robertson defeated incumbent councilman Ed Scott, whose council term elapsed in December, after both vied for the position formerly held by Grace Vargas, who chose not to seek reelection. The council considered several candidates, including two who were nominated and seconded and two who were nominated but failed to receive seconds.
Councilman Ed Palmer made a motion to appoint former councilwoman Lynn Hirtz. Councilman Shawn O’Connell seconded that motion, but neither councilman Joe Baca, Jr. nor Robertson supported that choice.
Baca then nominated Rafael Trujillo, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission who had run for council in November but was edged out by Palmer and O’Connell. Robertson seconded that motion but both Palmer and O’Connell refused to endorse Trujillo.
Robertson then nominated Melissa Morrison, who did not garner a second. She then offered Dennis Barton as an alternative candidate, but that motion likewise died for the lack of a second.
Notably, no one considered Scott, who was a fixture on the council for 20 years.
The five member panel thus remains one member short. Three options remain: finding by February 9 a candidate at least three of the council members can support, allowing Governor Jerry Brown to make an appointment or holding an election, at a likely cost of more than $250,000 in the city with a population of 99,171, to choose a new council member.

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