Modesto

Modesto sends newly-vacant Council seat to election

It appears that the vacant seat on the Modesto City Council will remain unfilled until the November election. 

Last week, Bill Zoslocki resigned from his position as the council member representing District 4. 

Tuesday, the council held a special meeting to determine if it will appoint Zoslocki’s replacement for the remaining seven months of the term or allow the seat to remain open until filled in the November election. 

After discussion, the council voted 3-2 to direct city staff to return to the council with a resolution to affirm the choice to keep the seat open for the next seven months. 

City Attorney Jose Sanchez clarified to the council that even if the resolution does not pass with the four required votes for a majority, the city’s standard default stance regarding appointments is to wait for the election. 

Even getting to a vote Tuesday, though, waded through a bit of controversy. 

Some of the discussion centered on the ability of an appointee to get up to speed with the job in only a seven-month period, as well as giving someone an incumbency advantage heading into the November election. 

Following the council’s discussion period, Mayor Sue Zwahlen asked if any of the councilmembers would make a motion. 

Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer started to make a motion to decline an appointment and let the voters fill the seat in November, but Zwahlen interrupted her because Councilman Tony Madrigal had his hand raised to make an additional comment. 

As he did earlier, Madrigal spoke in support of making an appointment, urging his colleagues to side with him. 

“Before any motion gets made, I just urge my colleagues to not treat this position like it’s a position that nobody can get up to speed in such short amount of time,” Madrigal said. “I have a lot of faith in the volunteers that are wanting to step forward and represent District 4.” 

Madrigal then made his own motion for an appointment, claiming that point of order applies since he had the floor. 

Zwahlen objected to Madrigal’s motion, saying that Kenoyer had the floor and was making a motion before she was interrupted to allow another comment from Madrigal. 

Sanchez had to step in to clarify that since Kenoyer had started making a motion, she was allowed to finish, which ultimately ended in the 3-2 vote in support of foregoing an appointment. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.