Councilmember Joe Krovoza was appointed the new mayor of Davis on Tuesday, following former mayor Don Saylor’s departure from Davis City Council.
In addition, the council voted 4-0 to pursue an appointment process to fill the open council seat. Councilmember Rochelle Swanson was ultimately selected to replace Krovoza as mayor pro tem.
Councilmembers Sue Greenwald and Swanson voted in Krovoza, while Councilmember Stephen Souza abstained from voting.
Normally, the person who receives the greatest number of votes in an election serves the first two years as mayor pro-tem and the next two years as mayor. The process was spurred by Saylor’s move to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, leaving his position open.
Souza proposed dividing the mayoral position into six-month increments based on seniority, the first term beginning with Greenwald.
Former mayor Jerry Adler, speaking during public comments, supported Souza’s idea because he stated that no mayor since the 1940s has served two successive terms without a City Council election. Krovoza will serve for another three and a half years as mayor.
“I’m intrigued by the motion,” Swanson said. “I’m just hesitant because continuity bears fruit over time. We could be put at a disadvantage with community groups because the continuity of these relationships are so important to the city.”
Greenwald nominated Swanson for the position of mayor pro-tem.
While Souza nominated himself for mayor pro-tem, Adler supported Souza based off of Souza’s many years working on the council.
Tensions grew during the meeting when Greenwald expressed her misgivings to vote for Souza based on his previous treatment of her during her time as mayor from 2006-2008.
“During my time as mayor I was constantly under attack by Stephen,” Greenwald said. “He wasn’t fair in his appointments to different boards. He held the swing vote that replaced me on the most interesting boards where I’d gain the most political advantage that traditionally go to the mayor. We need a mayor pro-tem who follows the rules.”
It was also noted that both Souza and Greenwald are up for re-election in a year and a half. Souza’s selection may give him an unfair electoral advantage. Swanson is not up for re-election.
Souza abstained from the mayor pro-tem vote after the other three councilmembers voted in favor of Swanson filling in for Krovoza.
The council also decided not to hold an election to appoint a new member because of the high costs.
“Choosing someone was not my first choice,” Greenwald said. “The positive of this is it will widen the field of people who wouldn’t normally want to campaign.”
Swanson said because of the turning point in the economy and budget, the new member will need to genuinely care about the community’s voice and have an open-minded mentality.
The council opted for an extended timeline to select a new member and allow time for the public to submit input. Because the council has 60 days to replace the missing councilmember, the new member will be in their seat by March 1. The term will lasts 16 months.
The council will boil down the selection to 10 applicants and then vote on them after a candidate forum.
The application was posted yesterday on the city’s website. Application questions include background and contact information and describing issues that the applicant feels are important and what positions the applicant holds on city issues.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.