Elliott won the 5th District seat on the county board of supervisors by defeating Tracy Planning Commissioner Rhodesia Ransom in the Nov. 6 election. He has completed two years of a four-year term and must resign his council position before accepting his new office, according to state election law.
California election code states that the City Council must appoint a replacement, or call an election to determine a replacement, within 60 days of the vacancy.
Tracy Assistant City Clerk Carole Fleischmann said there are a few scenarios that could result if the City Council chooses to appoint Elliott's replacement.
A council member was most recently appointed in 2006, when then-councilman Brent Ives was elected mayor of Tracy — a position to which he was reelected Nov. 6, running unopposed.
In 2006, the council solicited applications from residents and conducted interviews before choosing Steve Abercrombie from a field of 10 applicants. Abercrombie did not appear on the ballot that year, but he was elected to the council in 2008 and chose not to seek re-election this year.
Fleischmann said the council could employ a similar system this year, or it could decide to appoint the person who received the third-most votes in this year’s race for two council seats.
That would be Ray Morelos, who finished behind council newcomer Nancy Young and incumbent Michael Maciel, who won a second term.
According to Assistant City Attorney Bill Sartor, any vote concerning an appointment would be taken in open session, though a subcommittee of two council members could meet outside a public session to interview candidates, he said.
If the council lets voters decide during a special election, it’s still unclear when that would be held, Fleischmann said. The city clerk’s office is responsible for scheduling such an election within the 60-day window created when Elliott officially resigns.
She estimated the cost to the city would be $5 per registered voter, and with about 33,000 registered voters in Tracy, Fleischmann’s estimate means a cost of about $165,000. However, Austin Erdman, San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, said Tuesday, Nov. 13, that the cost could reach $250,000.
The timing of Elliott’s resignation could influence who decides the city’s course of action.
Fleischmann expects that Maciel, Young and Ives will be sworn into their offices during the Dec. 4 council meeting.
If Elliott resigned after that date, Young would join Maciel, Ives and Councilman Robert Rickman in casting votes regarding any appointment or election.
Elliott did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding this story.
• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.