Cotati council chooses to fill Gilardi seat by appointment
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By Dave Williams  February 1, 2013 12:00 am

Rather than hold a special election to replace outgoing City Councilwoman Pat Gilardi, the Cotati City Council at its meeting on Jan. 23 unanimously voted 4-0 to fill her seat via appointment.

A special election would likely cost the city upward of $25,000. Gilardi, whose resignation is effective as of today, was absent from the council meeting because of a prior commitment involving her new job with Sonoma County 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin. In her final interview as a councilmember, Gilardi advocated making an appointment rather than a special election.

The application process for potential council replacements has already begun and the deadline to file is Feb. 28. By law, the council must appoint a new member by March 26. Whomever is chosen for the seat will be the third appointed councilmember; Mayor Mark Landman and Vice-Mayor John Dell’Osso both were appointed but won subsequent reelection.

One Cotati citizen who is itching to get back on the council is former councilman George Barich, who was recalled in 2009. Barich is the first, and so far the only person to file paperwork with Cotati Deputy City Clerk Tami Taylor. Taylor said it’s early in the process and she expects more people to file paperwork.

It is highly unlikely, Barich, a unabashed critic of the council, will be appointed, and he seems to know it.

“I can only hope and pray I am not perceived by the current council as overqualified for the position given my education, my experience, my good health, my outspokenness, my 15 years of uninterrupted civic involvement in city meetings and workshops, my honesty, the 1274 votes I received in the last local election, my efforts to outlaw traffic roundabouts, my efforts to fight higher sales taxes, and my selfless dedication to the betterment of the City of Cotati,” he said.

In the November election, Barich finished last on the four-person ballot, as former mayor Susan Harvey, Dell’Osso and council newcomer Wendy Skillman won the top three spots.

Barich, however, feels he’d the be logical choice.

“This vacancy coming so close to the last election, logic dictates I be appointed,” Barich told the council.

The last time an appointment was made to the council, it was in 2011 when Dell’Osso was called upon to fill the seat of the late Robert Coleman-Senghor, who died of a tear in his aorta. The other candidate who garnered serious consideration at the time was Ben Ford, currently the vice chair of the Cotati Planning Commission. Barich applied but was passed over.

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